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It's really not long now until we'll be seeing lambs bouncing about and daffodils sprouting up left, right, and centre across the Dales, but in many ways it still seems a long way off. We've only just had our first proper cold snap in our neck of the woods, with a fair bit of snow on the valley tops. It's better than December's downpour though, and let's keep fingers crossed that many bits of the North will be ready for sowing seeds by the time Spring comes.
There's plenty in the culinary calendar for February, not least Valentine's Day (bear this in mind gentlemen!), while the chilly weather makes it the perfect excuse for indulgent slow cooks and roasting joint feasts. In case you missed it too, our very own J Baker has been sharing his tips for the best British breakfast to start a winter day. There's devilled kidneys on toast, black pudding fritters with bacon and duck eggs, and the classic Cumberland swirls with homemade beans; all perfect for trying something new.
Speaking of which, we were delighted with the response to the Winter Sale, especially because lots of customers have been ringing up wanting to try new things. That's always great as it minimises wastage - a big side effect of the supermarkets collectively minimising the choice in meat cuts to a few, and certain dishes falling off the menu.
The big success though has been mutton, which continues to win new fans as our customers discover its wonderful quality, a year or so after we first made it available. That's so heartening because often sheep farmers up in the Dales struggle to sell it, with the demand for lamb being so high, and also heartening because our Swaledale mutton is just so tasty and we want people to sing its praises (don't forget there are recipes for every cut for inspiration!)
February too is very much going to be a month of new breeds for us. This is partly down to now having the ability to hang more meat at any one time, which gives us a bit more flexibility beyond our classic breeds which we like to have all year round, such as Angus, Galloway, Saddleback, Swaledale and the like.
We've already got in some Lakeland Herdwick, (you can read more about this lovely breed here), plus newcomer Kendal Rough lamb from the Howgill Fells. There will be a new beef breed too: the Red Poll and the Irish Moiled. Both are new to us, and both enjoy interesting histories. The Red Poll is an East Anglian breed, emerging in the 19th Century, and known for its neat cuts of lean beef. You'll often see it listed when food writers talk about native breeds as being the way to go for better beef, due to its consistent quality.
The big news though is our new kid goat meat. Sourced from the Vale of York where these billys feed on lush pastures in the great outdoors, it's perfect for lean dishes, and the sweet yet complex flavour that goat is known for. Indeed our very own J Baker has been putting up his own recipes next to each cut on the site, so if you're in any doubt as to how to approach the goat, there's no need to fear.
You can browse our full range of goat here.
All the best,
John & Lee,
Founders, Farmison & Co