- 30th April 2020
- Posted by: Steve Lewis
- Category: Pembrokeshire Lamb
What makes our Pembrokeshire Lamb special?
Lambing has finally finished and the recent spell of warm dry weather has been enjoyed by animals and humans alike. Lockdown guidelines are certainly easier to contend with on the farm. We enjoyed a peak in sales at Easter and have been grateful for the continued influx of orders both locally and nationwide. Life has slowed down for many and it appears people are having time to think and question where their food comes from.
As a smaller businesses we are more connected with our products and can engage with our customers. We encourage interaction with our customers and operate an ‘open-book’ approach on how we produce our Welsh Lamb meat boxes. One question asked by a new customer that got me thinking was “what is it that makes your Welsh Lamb so special?” so I thought I would give my thoughts on this here.
The UK has some of the highest animal welfare regulations worldwide. I have a degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and Steve a degree in Agriculture which we both proudly apply to our livestock, and the surrounding environment.
Our Pembrokeshire Lamb proudly carries PGI status (Protected Geographical Indication), meaning only lamb born, reared and slaughtered in Wales qualifies to be sold as such. https://eatwelshlambandwelshbeef.com/en/what-pgi
As farmers we need to work to the strengths of the land and environment. Much of the South of England is suited to growing vegetables and crops due to the low-lying land and fertile soils. The topography of our North Pembrokeshire farm is suited to grazing sheep, with its rocky outcrops and shallow soils. There is evidence of early Celt field systems and farming on parts of our farm, dating back thousands of years.
The close proximity to the coast and the gulf stream means an abundance of rain to grow grass, herbs and shrubs for the sheep to graze. These grasses capture carbon which is then returned to the soil via the sheep. Interestingly sheep wool also contains up to 50% carbon. https://www.woolmark.com/globalassets/02-about-wool/factsheets/gd2405-where-does-carbon-come-from_122.pdf We go one step further and use cleaned reclaimed wool as a natural insulator keeping our meat fresh or frozen when out for delivery.
New Zealand lamb travels 11000 miles and has a shelf life of 100 days and can be marketed as fresh ccompared to UK industry guidelines for Welsh Lamb is 21 days. https://meatmanagement.com/hcc-seeks-industry-views-on-how-to-keep-welsh-lamb-products-on-shop-shelves-for-longer/ . 100 days is three months, i am not sure many people realise just how long or how far it has traveled, or the fossil fuels burnt to get it here.
Our Welsh Lamb is selected when the animal is ready, not when they reach the weight dictated by the supermarkets in order to fit their pre-defined boxes. This means the lamb has stayed with its mother and grazed longer than many, allowing the muscles to grow and the flavour to develop. Good food takes time to be produced and cannot be rushed
We try to keep food miles as low as possible and have a skilled local butcher hang and cut the meat for us. The industry standard for hanging lamb is 4 days to enable the meat to ‘set’, we hang our lamb for 1 week and our hogget and mutton for 2 weeks, allowing the muscle fibers to relax and tenderise.
Purchasing one of our meat boxes reduces food miles and wastage as well as providing excellent value for money, see more on this in the previous blog article.
We are the farmers, the meat boxes we sell are produced from our sheep and we are responsible for our products at every stage of the process. We go above and beyond industry standards as it is quality not volume that we produce, care taken every step of the journey. Quality and care that we at Pembrokeshire Lamb believe you can taste. To order any of our home-produced Welsh Lamb please click here. https://www.pembrokeshirelamb.co.uk/product-category/lamb/