Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

Lamb & Mutton Week

Spring is definitely in the air! The mild weather has already heralded the arrival of all the daffodils, cherry blossom and magnolia. With lots of sheep and lambs now out in the fields regenerating our soils, or balancing the ecosystems of our moors and hills, we celebrate spring and what a delicious, easy, and environmental meal, lamb makes!

And for you budding gastronomes try mutton or unusual breeds of sheep like Herdwick, Lincoln Longwool, Southdown, more here from our friends at Slow Food

Lincoln Longwool, bred for meat & wool

Environmental because sheep are an important part of a balanced ecosystem in areas where crops cannot be grown, or where sustainable mixed farms need animals are part of the crop rotation and help regenerate soils. As 70% of the worlds agricultural land cannot grow crops and need to be grazed experts say that everyone becoming vegans is not the answer to feed the world. Previous blog with videos here.

Before Brexit 30% of our lamb was exported, so buying British lamb not only means you are supporting British farmers but also buying a high welfare, low carbon footprint product. But don’t just buy lamb, mutton is also an excellent product that many people say tastes better.

Here is food hero Joanna Blythman on the difference between Lamb and Mutton.

“People who think they know what lamb is all about may do a double take when they first eat hogget and mutton (that’s meat from sheep aged more than one and two years, respectively).”

These traditional meats offer all the reliable taste we expect from lamb, only more so. mrs-jane-kallaway-and-lambs-oneMost modern lamb comes from sheep four to six months old. But if the animal is given more time to range freely, all the while chomping away on tussocky bracken, heather, herbs and clovers, its meat develops an infinitely more interesting, fuller flavour that is delightful. The grain of the meat becomes finer too – even more pleasing to the tongue.

At this time of year, why buy anaemic and overpriced “spring” lamb from sheep bred to grow fast and fattened up indoors on compound feeds, or imported long-haul from the southern hemisphere, when hogget and mutton, patiently reared in the UK, is on offer?”

Why is it good for me?

Joanna's brilliant book

Joanna’s brilliant book

The high-quality protein in hogget and mutton sates the appetite and repairs and maintains our bodies. These meats have every essential amino acid we need, along with high levels of valuable micronutrients, including easily absorbed iron to energise us, zinc to support the immune system, and B vitamins to help us think straight. Since sheep graze on green pastures, the fat in their meat is an excellent source of conjugated linoleic acid, which is heart-healthy and helps protect us against cancer.

For a great read try Much Ado about Mutton by our friend Bob Kennard

To discover some fantastic lamb & Mutton producers online try our MarketPlace . Or search our Lamb & Mutton map for a farm shop or deli in your area selling high quality meat where you can ask about how it was reared. Or even the breed. As our partners at the RBST (Rare Breed Survival Trust) say; ‘to maintain our rare breeds we need to farm and eat them’

Or, if you have your own favourite lamb or mutton recipe, why not share it with us? For the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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