From our pastures to your plate

At Purston Lamb we pride ourselves on our incredibly high standards of welfare: we might eat them, but we care very much that their lives are as stress free as possible. Our sheep spend 90% of their lives living outside eating grass, and raising their own lambs as nature intended. When the time comes, from our pastures to the local butcher via the abattoir, our lambs will travel less than 35 miles, making it seriously local.

Lamb rearing policy

Just after Christmas the pregnant ewes are moved into warm and comfortable barns, where they are fed depending on the number of lambs that they are carrying. We learn this by ultra sound scanning each ewe. Lambing starts around 16th February and our lambs get the very best start in life: we have staff on call 24 hours a day to help if necessary. Everybody rallies around to help Head Shepherd David Hill. After lambing the ewes and their lambs are placed in individual pens for 48 hours where they can bond in peace, and then moved into groups of about 20 for another few days. If the weather is good they go out to grass and the ewes are given supplementary nuts to ensure that they keep up their milk production. The lambs exclusively feed on milk from their mother until they’re old enough to forage and take hard feed, then they feed on milk and forage. They are still with their mothers until they’re old enough to be sold.

All our sheep are inspected twice a day and any problems are dealt with at once. Great attention is paid to the health and welfare of the growing lambs.

Production

Supermarkets would have you believe that they have to import New Zealand Lamb in the winter and early spring months because New Season English Lamb is unavailable. This is nonsense – we have New Season Lamb for sale all year round. New Season equals young and almost all our lambs are sold at less than five months old. Our lambs at Purston are weighed every week, and when they reach about 12 weeks of age and are about 40 kgs live weight – which gives a carcase of around 19.5 kgs – they are ready for sale. After many years of testing we have discovered that this size provides the ideal sized legs, shoulders, chops and loins for our butcher and customers.

A very important part of our philosophy is to minimise food miles. We are certain that the shortest journey possible is essential to avoid stress to the lambs on the day of slaughter. We have found an excellent small local abattoir only 16 miles from Purston where 8-10 lambs are killed each week and are delivered next day to our partners at Brackley Butchers. The carcasses are hung for 7-14 days before the master butchers cut them to a superb standard.

Purston Lamb is found on the menu of many pubs, hotel and restaurants in Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire and very many diners have complimented us on the tenderness and succulent flavour of our lamb. In recognition of this, we are certified under the Red Tractor Farm Assurance Scheme.

We are absolutely confident that you will taste the care and attention that has been taken at every stage.