- 14th November 2019
- Posted by: Steve Lewis
- Category: Pembrokeshire Lamb
I was wandering around the supermarket, toddler in tow when I actually took notice of the meat isles. Normally I purchase my other meat from local suppliers. Aside from the artificially bright red meat and the copious amounts of plastic packaging I noticed the prices per kilo were staggeringly high compared to what the farmer would have received. The hours of work and care just don’t equate into money paid per head.
I am aware that there are costs the supermarkets incur too, but how much of that money actually remains in the local economy? The majority of it leaves the county and often ends with shareholders.
Do you know where that animal has come from, what it has eaten? Or how it has been reared? The longer the chain the more this information becomes of little importance and lost.
I am a believer of choosing quality over quantity so would rather eat less if it’s a quality product than overindulge in cheaper ones. This also applies to people wanting to cut down on red meat consumption too. It is essential to know how your food was produced. For example, our lamb was born and raised on farm and minimal transport used taking it to slaughter. Supermarket meat accrues huge food miles, even using the courier to dispatch our meat, we are still far lower. The grasses and herbs the sheep eat captures carbon which is then returned to the ground and stored there. Most farmland sheep graze on is unsuitable for regular crop production. We value our farm and invest in the biodiversity on it, planting trees, wildflowers and much more. Imported meat may be cheaper, but you must ask why? The fossil fuels alone in transporting them will be huge. Animal welfare in the UK is one of the highest around. https://www.nfuonline.com/sectors/animal-health/animal-health-news/uk-leads-the-way-in-animal-welfare/ We know our animals, see them daily and care for them, ensuring their last journey is as stress free as possible. I enjoy applying my animal behavior and welfare degree in day to day farm life.
On return from the abattoir Pembrokeshire Lamb is hung for 7 days, whereas the industry standard is just 2, to allow faster turnover. A longer hanging period enabling the muscle fibres to relax and tenderise. We then hand wrap the fresh meat in traditional butchers’ paper, allowing the meat to breathe and carry on tenderizing. This paper, if clean is fully recyclable, plastic on the other hand can be tricky and often ends in landfill or worse.
Food is not an area we should cut corners on, it is what builds, nourishes and fuels us, yet this day in age a greater value is often placed on material objects and lifestyle. Do we need to re-balance our relationships with food and question where and how it was produced, after all not all areas of life should be fast paced.
Returning to the pricing, I went online and collected prices per kilogram for equivalent meat, took an average and compared it to one half Pembrokeshire Lamb meat box. The supermarkets Like for like products totaled £149.50 minus delivery whereas The Pembrokeshire Lamb half box is £125 delivered to your door, hand wrapped in traditional butchers paper. All sourced from the same family farm thus supporting the local economy too. Sounds a good deal to me. Buying from the source be it butcher of farm box is definitely the way forward.