An award-winning butcher is urging sheep producers to castrate lambs to improve the flavour of meat.
Rob Rattray, who produces his own lambs for his butchery business in Aberystwyth, insists a castrated lamb produces a superior flavour and that is important for boosting lamb sales.
βThe meat is much sweeter. If we want consumers to be loyal to lamb we need to make sure we give them the best taste experience. I think all lambs should be castrated,ββ said Mr Rattray, who runs a flock of 400 pure Beltex sheep.
Mr Rattray was speaking at an event in Aberystwyth to promote red meats produced in Ceredigion. The event was facilitated by Cywain, a scheme that helps primary producers in Wales add value to primary produce.
An audience including several farmers were given an insight into how they could maximise their return on animals and get the best out of the carcass.
Mr Rattray was joined by Gareth John, head chef of the Wynnstay Hotel in Machynlleth, who prepared the meat and demonstrated how it would be prepared in a quality restaurant.
Catrin Jones, Cywain Development Manager South-West Wales, said the event was aimed at inspiring producers to think imaginatively about adding value to their stock. βWe want producers to think outside the box and by getting them involved at the butchery and food preparation stages, they will have a clearer idea of what butchers and cooks are looking for in carcasses,ββ she said.
Mr Rattray said there had been a move in recent years towards achieving a degree of fat cover on lambs to enhance flavour. βAt one point the focus was on leanness but even supermarkets have come to realise that a small about of fat cover is popular with customers and gives a better flavour to meat,ββ he said. βIt is important that farmers work with us to supply what our customers want. Wales is renowned for its top quality lamb, every farmer should aim to achieve the very best quality meat that their farm is capable of producing.ββ
One of the farmers who attended the event, Jane Downes, of Ysgubor Teile, Penuwch, has diversified by opening a restaurant. She found the advice delivered by Rob and Gareth to be very useful. βThe presentation covered so many aspects of meat production, from the farm to the plate, and this knowledge will be very useful to us in our new business,ββ she said.
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