“Some of the tastiest lamb I’ve ever eaten!”
“What a Sunday roast! Excellent! Would highly recommend”.
“Brilliant shepherdess and beautiful flock of sheep”.
Just a few of the comments made by delighted customers about Lambtastic Meat Boxes and the young shepherdess from Egerton who is rapidly making a name for herself producing the very best of fresh British lamb.
Harriet Heathcote is just 21 years old and like many others is concerned about climate change and the environmental challenges facing society today. The Heathcote family have been farming in Kent since the 1920s and Harriet prides herself on being a fourth generation shepherdess. “It was something I was born into” she says. “Dad has always been a sheep farmer so I was brought up doing this”.
As well as looking after her own mixed flock of 300 Suffolks, North Country Mules and Romney sheep, Harriet is a contract shepherdess for other local farmers. “I’ve seen the bottom fall out of the livestock market. Prices for sheep are virtually nil and certainly don’t represent the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into rearing and producing a quality flock these days” she adds.
Concerned not just about the future of livestock prices, but also the rising conflict with veganism and a major campaign that suggests livestock are major contributors to global warming, Harriet launched ‘Lambtastic Meat Boxes’ this summer. Keen to make a difference, Harriet collaborates with a local abattoir in Heathfield and a butcher in Pluckley, to bring the most succulent, fresh, local and sustainable, lamb, hogget and mutton, to the table. “A lot of people today are concerned about animal welfare and want to know how the sheep have been reared. Our flock graze rich permanent pasture, which contributes to the fantastic taste”. Every sheep farmer will tell you that lamb is naturally rich in protein, low in sodium, and provides multiple vitamins and minerals that contribute to good health and well-being.
“I want to produce to local people who want the best home reared sheep” says Harriet. Being a small start-up with no external investment, marketing budgets are non-existent. “I’ve been using social media and doing it all myself” says Harriet, “But word of mouth recommendation has so far been my most successful ally” she adds. Lambtastic meat boxes come in two sizes. A whole box, comprising two legs, two shoulders, chump chops, loin chops, roll breast, neck fillet, kidneys and liver, and a half box. The boxes are made up and delivered upon order, guaranteeing the very freshest of home reared produce.
At the moment, about 15% of Harriet’s flock are produced for the meat boxes, but with an eye to the future, Harriet has a three year plan which should see up to 50% of the flock contributing to Lambtastic Meat Boxes. “It’s a small business and we need to take small steps. I love my contract shepherding but it would be nice to one day have my own business providing the mainstay of my living.”
Image Credits: Chris Lawson .