This weekend I had a wonderful visit to a farm near Naseby just a few miles from the shop. It was a morning organised by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and was hosted by a local farmer, James Fanshawe who keeps a flock of rare breed sheep and a herd of rare breed cows. Aside from the glorious weather, and the opportunity to tramp, ankle deep, through several fields (you can't buy that kind of leg workout!), I had the chance to see the pedigree Manx Loaghtan and Shetland sheep and the Shorthorn cattle and their calves which James rears. You can tell he loves his job, as do the people he works with on the farm and he talks passionately about the subject of rare breed animals and their survival, as do the other other members of the group.
We've been investigating the possibilities of selling more local and rare breed meat through the shop for some time. It's not just about supporting local farmers, although that is a major part of it, but its also about giving our customers the chance to really get a taste of Northamptonshire. The lamb James produces from his farm is completely different to the neatly packaged, identically sized produce you find on a supermarket shelf. These animals are all grass fed which produces meat that is lower in cholesterol and has a unique taste of its own. Manx Loaghtan are an ancient breed from the Isle of Man and faced extinction in the 1950s but have been revived over the past 50 years. They are slower growing and produce a leaner, darker, more flavoursome lamb. The Shetland, in comparison, is leaner still, with a sweeter, less gamey meat and being grass fed again, adds to the flavour.
By the very nature of the way in which it is reared and produced, this is the sort of product we would get in irregularly. What we'd like to do is get an idea of who's interested in buying this wonderful meat and get a mailing list together so that when we get some in, we can let you know. If you're interested in the meat or would just like to know more about the rare breeds, please do send us a message via the website or on facebook with your details.