February 01 2010
Lucia van der Post
These days, most of us have become awfully picky about the food we buy. We like to know that our cheese has come from a named producer in the Midlands, our apples from a specific orchard; as for our meat – we may not want to know the dear lamb’s name, but it’s important to be told how it’s been reared, what kind of breed it is and how gently it’s been dispatched.
If that’s how you feel, then welcome to Langley Chase Organic Farm. It has won all sorts of awards but, more importantly, for those who love British lamb and the hard-to-get-hold-of mutton, Langley Chase offers what it calls a “personal, bespoke” service. The farm breeds pedigree Manx Loaghtan sheep (pictured), an ancient rare breed reared naturally on organic pastures, whose meat is low in cholesterol and fat.
You can check it all out online and order by email, but it’s best to speak to Mrs Jane Kallaway, who runs the farm and likes to speak to buyers in person. “I think my customers appreciate the opportunity to talk to the farmer, learn about the breed, what we do on the farm and then have the opportunity to order something that is exactly right for them.”
Needless to say, meat bought this way costs rather more than supermarket packs, largely because of the delivery cost (£18); but if you were to call in at the farm yourself or fill your freezer, then it would be surprisingly reasonable. A whole lamb sells for £10.35 per kilo (it arrives jointed), a leg for £17.10 per kilo, a butterflied leg for £20 per kilo, while French-trimmed racks of lamb are £20.23 per kilo.
Try the sausages, though – Manx Loaghtan lamb sausages with apple, parsley, sage and thyme are £6 a pack and a world away from standard supermarket fare.