Hebridean sheep are slower maturing than more commercial type sheep. Our sheep are therefore generally finished on grass after their second summer as compared with commercial lamb from 4 months onward. The meat at this time is termed hogget and this is what we mainly produce. We also occasionally have mutton available, which is when they are over 2 years old.
The meat it's self is very dark, succulent, sweet, tender and fine grained and is very different from the more commercially available product. The meat has a subtle gamey flavour and has no greasiness. The longer time till maturity and the Hebrideans preference for eating a variety of plants also add to the development of the meats distinct exquisite taste.
Studies have shown the meat is a healthier product than conventional Lamb, An older Rare Breed Survival Trust report showed Hebridean sheep carcasses had a healthier type of fat with lower levels of free cholesterol combined with elevated levels of healthy polyunsaturated omega-6 and omega-3 DHA fatty acids. We find this differnence in the fat shows in the cooking where the covering readily renders down providing extra taste and making sauces and gravys delicious also. We have also sold the meat to customers who approached us who have dietary related medical issues but like the occasional treat.
The Hebridean hogget and some selective first crosses are served in some top end restuarants.
Alex Barker from the guild of food writers has described Hebridean as having " Fantastic eating qualities" and comments on them as follows:
"The meat from Hebridean sheep is unique. It has a rich, dark colour, succulent tender texture, and a gamey, utterly delicious flavour. Added to that, it offers health advantages over other well-known breeds of sheep – the meat is very lean, and recent tests have shown that it has a significantly lower cholesterol level.
I put our lamb to the test one Sunday lunchtime with a table of all ages. Tasted against locally produced butcher's lamb and some very good Welsh lamb, there was no contest: the Hebridean won hands down. It was tender with a really good bite, and rich but didn't leave that greasy, fatty taste in the mouth. And it was so full of flavour that some of the young tasters couldn't believe it really was lamb.
Thankfully, breeds like the Hebridean are gradually becoming more available to small numbers of consumers."
We also sell a number of our Hebridean hoggets to Seriously Good Venison in Perth who sell the product online and at the farmers markets
We are also trialling a limited number of Hebridean cross Southdown lambs this year, again they are used in a number of good restaurants.
Please contact us via the contact page if you wish to purchase some of this delicious product (more details in the "For Sale" page). Commercial contact welcomed also.
Really the last word should be handed over to the meat itself so here's a gallery of before and after pictures below: