Beef and Mutton from the Carmarthenshire hills
… is to bring you the best beef and mutton you will ever taste. The secret is (1) older animals, (2) grass-feeding and (3) super-ageing after slaughter. Fferm Wernlwyd is not certified organic but we employ organic principles. Our pasture has not been reseeded for years, most of it for generations. Over that time it has become naturalised with wild grasses and flowers. That brings higher welfare and improves quality.
We are in no hurry to finish our stock and get it to slaughter. As in the old days, we raise our wethers (castrated male sheep) for two years. Most of the lamb you see on supermarket shelves will be lucky if it was six months old. But we know those extra winters bring maturity, size and fantastic taste. Once killed and cooled, we’ll hang our mutton for thirty-five days in the chiller so the meat enzymes can develop its tenderness and flavour. OK, that’s not as long as we hang our beef, but it’s a smaller carcase and 35 days super-ageing means our mutton is as tender as lamb, but with a deeper, more complex taste.
Mutton is ‘the best of all food’ according to the folk song (‘Rosebud in June’). It might even surpass our beef and be regarded, if you will forgive the expression, as the ‘ultimeat’.
Contrary to what you might hear, the environmental impact of raising sheep and cattle is low. Our animals hang out in fields during the summer and eat silage, harvested grass, in winter. They are NEVER ‘finished’ on grain in ‘feed-lots’.
After all, sheep and cattle are grazing animals. Their digestive system, with its four stomachs, is far more complex than ours. Ruminants are inefficient at digesting grain but perfectly-designed to extract every last ounce of nutrition out of grass and meadow flowers. 26% of the earth’s surface is pasture. Ruminants are prey animals whose purpose on this earth is to convert what we cannot eat (that’s grass!) slowly but surely into what we can – high-quality, high-protein muscle meat, packed with essential vitamins and nutrients.
Our meat costs little more than what the supermarkets charge for their highest quality. But the similarity ends there. Our beef is twice as old and hung for twice as long as even the ‘best’ beef from the big firms. Our older stock brings more flavour and our super-ageing delivers taste the ‘big boys’, with their need for throughput, can only dream of.
These days produce can be flown half-way round the world to satisfy modern food fads. When you choose our super-aged beef or mutton, you know the animals have been well cared-for and you are buying local, from farm to fork, keeping those food miles to the bare minimum. That’s why meat from Fferm Wernlwyd (Grey Alders) is the very best – and doesn’t cost the earth.