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A Guide to Our Lamb: Spring Lamb, Hoggot, & Mutton

Blog • May 6th 2015

Lamb has been a staple of the country butchers' trade in the Dales and Fells for centuries.

The reason why mutton and lamb has long been traditionally farmed here is the terrain makes it difficult for beef herds or pigs to thrive.

Our sheep on the other hand are adapt converters of wild grasses, flower, and herbs found on the harsh moorlands in the Dales and Fells into rich and succulent meat. They require little maintenance, and can roam freely on the valley tops.

However there is more to our flocks than their grazing. There are subtle changes in our seasonal offerings of our lamb.

Spring Lamb is considered a delicacy, and is the most tender lamb we sell, with characteristic pink colour and firm texture. Typically it is three to five months old, with the meat being much more delicate than our older lamb, as it hasn't matured on the wild grazing to develop robust flavours. We label all our Spring Lamb as such, so you know what you are getting.

Our regular lamb is a tad older, from six months to a year old, but closer to six months old more often than not. The key difference with Spring Lamb is the well developed and deeper flavour owing to the wild grazing. This makes our lamb unique in that they mature on wild heathers, grasses, flowers, and herbs, and because each variety we sell is informed by the area these lambs were reared.

For instance our Saltmarsh Lamb is typically sweet, as the flock matures on flats regularly inundated by the sea, while our Texels from the Yorkshire Dales feed on lush pastures, and our Herdwicks graze on the wild moorlands and Fells of Cumbria.

That means you can taste test all our lamb and notice the differences in character. This is something we're proud of: It means our lamb isn't anonymous but boasts flavours tied to the landscapes in which we work.

Hoggot is older still, but this means the flavours are even more well developed. Typically it is of a deeper red colour, and comes from animals one to two years old. Typically it is used for slow cooking, as the meat lends itself to breaking down on low temperatures.

The oldest is mutton, which is typically taken from animals over two years old. Under appreciated for so long, now with the help of Prince Charles who chairs the Mutton Renaissance Campaign, this prized culinary specialty is returning to menus and kitchens across Britain. It is really is fantastic meat, richer and with more fat than lamb, and consequently boasting much deeper and well developed flavour. Our is sourced from the Yorkshire Dales, where our farmer's flocks mature on a diet of wild grazing found on the valley tops, and in the lush meadows of the river valleys.