Atlantic Coast Lamb
John Stone Fine Foods are proud to offer a very special range of lamb products to our customers. The story behind this lamb is as compelling as the story behind our beef. Read all about it below.
Better life & flavour
What kind of lamb do we supply? We’re proud to say it’s common, that is to say, it comes from commonage – land that is not owned by a farmer but is held in common by a community. Most Irish lamb is reared on pastures – farmer owned plots of fenced-in grassland. This is fine but it means the lambs just eat grass and it results in less tasty meat. Our lambs are free to roam the hills and valleys of the remote corners of the West of Ireland. There they graze on the herbs, berries and indigenous flora of the land. This results in a better life for the lamb and a better flavour for you.
As anyone who has hiked the wilds of Galway, Mayo or Donegal will tell you, those hills will get you fit. There’s no pampering out there. Our sheep work hard foraging for food. On some of our farms there have been no ewes introduced since the nineteen fifties - newcomers would not be cut out for this lifestyle. Like anyone who leads an active, healthy lifestyle, they get sick less often. There’s less medication and fewer diseases. And if one does get sick, at least they’re not stuck together in a paddock. Social distancing anyone?
When the price of fuel goes up so does the price of food. It’s a little understood phenomenon that most farming is very fuel intensive. Less so with our lambs. They need so little intervention that there are far fewer tractor journeys in their rearing. Most farmers spend a lot of time, energy and resources building and repairing fences. Not our sheep farmers. Generations of experience have taught our livestock to “heft” that is to stay in one particular area. There are no fences, no feedstock or fertilisers. Just a free range as nature intended.
A delicate flavour
Second rate lamb has given all lamb a bad name. That strong one-note lamb taste that dominate other flavours is off-putting. Our lamb is subtle, delicate and sophisticated. This is mostly down to the diversity of their diet. Up to seventy species of herbs and grasses grow on these hills including mountain heather, wild garlic, bilberries, wild samphire, sorrel and bog rosemary. This results in a darker, juicier and sweeter meat with the light covering of fat you would expect from such an active lifestyle. Our lambs are smaller too which results in primals that are perfect for portioning.
Kitchen ready cuts
Selection is the key differentiator for John Stone Beef. Our butchers reject up to 90% of carcasses before selecting one suitable for John Stone. Our butchers are similarly discriminating when it comes to lamb. We use one of the top lamb butchers in Ireland to select our lamb and we only select the best. Lamb is not suitable for dry ageing nevertheless the meat must be aged for seven day to allow enzymes to break down the muscle fibres and makes the meat more tender. As with our beef, our lamb is supplied ‘kitchen-ready’ to standards which meet the high expectations of the world’s best chefs.