Boxes of Hebridean Mutton can now be ordered from the Ashdown Forest Conservators: a great opportunity to buy a tasty, local product whose purchase will help conserve the rare and beautiful heathlands of Ashdown Forest.
The Hebridean is a breed of sheep with an historical reputation for producing delicious mutton. Up to the 1940's Mutton was the meat of choice, but has fallen out of favour in the last few decades. Until recently there were no industry-wide standards for meat sold as mutton but new guidelines drawn up by Mutton Renaissance aim to ensure that mutton is consistently of the quality expected by chefs and home-cooks. The standards specify that sheep must be over two years old, and that animals must have a forage-based diet (for example grass, heather and root crops).The Hebrideans from the Conservators' flock are particularly slow growing, fed on the natural heathland vegetation of the Forest and definitely in a class of their own. Without this hardy breed grazing the Forest, the area's open heaths and the wildlife they support will deterioate.
Boxes of Mutton from the Conservators are expertly cut and vacuum packed locally, keeping food miles to a minimum. A whole box will consist of about 16-18 kilos of Mutton, comprising:
• 2 legs - very good as slow roast
• Cubed shoulder meat for your stews, curries, tagines etc. packed as 450 gms
• Hot pot cuts on the bone: loin chops (12), cutlets (14) and chump (rump) steaks (6)
• Mince for your shepherds pies
• Bones for your dog or your stockpot.
You may also order a half box which will be between 8-9kilos.
The meat costs £ 7.20 per kilo and needs to be collected from the Forest Centre at Wych Cross. The boxes are produced as part of a not for profit enterprise and any money made will go towards heathland conservation.