JJ branch managers took a trip to Wales to see what is involved in producing our new range of fresh Welsh lamb. The team saw every stage of the process from walking the fresh green hills of the farm, to where the lambs graze through to the factory and are carefully and ethically processed in a clean, calm and hygienic environment.
Experts from Dunbia and HCC (Meat Promotion Wales) provided insight into key market trends including the reduction in retail demand for legs of lamb as households get smaller. This is good news for foodservice as consumers will order what they don’t eat at home when they dine out.
The tour started at the farm where farmer Jones gave the team an educational talk on the development of the operation, which he started 30 years ago. Today the farm produces 1500 lambs a year, which enjoy grazing on hundreds of acres of beautiful grassland.
The team were then taken to the main factory to observe the production process – a highly efficient operation where the lambs are slaughtered. Once the carcasses have been rested and chilled for 24 hours, a mixture of people and machines cut them into packs for UK based retail customers and export customers in Asia.
Butchery master class
Knowing your chops and fillets from your shanks and racks is important when working with meat so a master butcher showed the team how to cut a carcass down into steaks, joints and fine dining cuts. The average carcass weighs 18kgs, 35% of which is bone. The melting point for lamb fat is higher than any other animal fat, meaning you have to cremate the lamb to cook the fat.
An inspiring cookery class taught the team how to turn lamb from a Sunday roast option to an every day occasion. Highlights included lamb kofte kebabs – a trendy option with great margins; pulled roast lamb – a mouth-watering alternative to pulled pork; and lamb risotto – an unusual concept but surprisingly delicious. These recipe ideas can be found at www.eatpgiwelshlamb.co.uk