Archive for farming

Mutton selling like hot cakes

We have been going great guns recently, which is nice considering the current climate (both weather and financial). We will have some more available from the end of the week contact us at the farm for your next order.

Our regular customers have beeen raving about the recipes from michelin star chefs that the Mutton Renaissance campaign promoted. So to follow on in our series of recipes here is an amazing heart warming recipe from John Williams, Executive Chef at the Ritz.

Mutton Broth – recipe below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Milk from Cloned Cows – Is this what people want?

I’m often asked what my thoughts are on things like GM and Cloning by non-farming friends and colleagues.

In short:

  • I believe in choice for the consumer, so if it is really what people want then fine.

 

  • It is unecessary because “traditional” advances in yields are already outgrowing population forecasts anyway.

 

  • Massive potential for single genome plants/animals to be susceptable to single diseases/pathogens – Genetic variation is a massive benefit in disease protection. Imagine if all british dairy cows were cloned from the same cow and all died – not good for food security.

 

  • If we routinely clone other animals how long before we start to justify others like……Humans? That can’t be good!

However, because of the lobbying pressure and widespread research these genes are creeping into our livestock and plant sectors anyway through sale of bulls and semen and cross pollination. So do we really know that our commodity level food is GM or Clone free now?

No we don’t.

This gives a small producer like me a slight dilema of conscience. . . .

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Where to buy mutton

 Many people come to us at Phepson Farm when they are looking to buy mutton. We are now sold out for Christmas, but you can usually find a local supplier with good quality mutton for sale if you try.

UPDATE 16.12.2010 – Now taking orders for 2011….

We supply locally because we like to know the customers and deliver in the local area. It also helps to keep our focus on our local customers as they tend to be more loyal in the long-term. Having said that we have some very loyal people who order online and just prefer our rare breed mutton to what they can get locally.

If in doubt about a supplier you can always check out the mutton renaissance website for good suppliers.

A quick guide to buying mutton:

1. Try and buy rare/traditional breeds where possible – it will be more fatty and therefore more flavoursome.

2. Make sure it IS actually mutton. Mutton is over 2 years old and if good quality then under 5. You see a lot of hogget lamb (1-2 years) sold as mutton. Goat is also called mutton in Caribbean cooking.

3. Your mutton should be hung for at least 2 weeks or it will be tough – this is why it often gets a bad reputation. Also avoid phrases like “aged 21 days”. Words like “aged” or “matured” usually mean something nasty has been injected to mimick hanging. Hanging meat is expensive so expect to pay more for this.

4. For roasts I would always go for shoulders over legs and rolled breasts over loins. Chops for a slow cooked stew, leg steaks are great for frying or stripped for a stir fry and the tender-loin and neck fillets are to die for in a mutton stew or mutton curry.

5. When you get it home cook it slowly! With such great flavour it’s important you treat it with great care.

MDAL.

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Santa farming at Phepson

image

You would have thought he would be busier at this time of year.

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You get out what you put in

You would have thought that since I produce the finest quality mutton and lamb that I would be pretty familiar with the above rule of thumb. You would have thought…

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Turning out the Ram

 

The start of the shepherds year comes round again. Only 5 months less 5 days and we’ll have the next generation of Wiltshire lambs on the way.

I’m particularly pleased with my rams this year. I have the 2009 champion ram lamb from the national show and sale and the sire of the top priced pen of 5 ewes from the 2010 sale. Having seen some of the ram lambs offspring from last year its all looking good for next years crop.

MDAL.

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Decisions, Decisions….

All this snow is affecting our production. With the best will in the world feeding species rich hay is not enough to fatten sheep in snow conditions.

As a result we haven’t been able to take any to slaughter for a while now.

I could take them leaner – but that would impact quality of the meat (less fat is not good).

I could feed them concentrate feed to fatten them – but then they wouldn’t taste as good.

Looks like I’ll have to wait and do a bit more selling in the spring.

Who brought up this whole food integrity thing anyway?

MDAL

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