The producers of our meat are crofters from the Outer Hebrides, the furthest North Westerly part of the British Isles.
A crofter is the tenant of a croft, which is a small area of bog and rock on which our predecessors toiled to produce enough to keep their families from starvation.
The history of crofting is one of a resolute and self reliant population who maintained their music and their oral history and their sense of humour despite living in conditions of great hardship at the mercy of grasping landlords and their villainous tacksmen.
We have much to live up to.
Even in these easier times our croft land is, in agricultural terms, not very enviable. However, like our predecessors, we have the rights to graze our livestock over thousands of acres of common grazings. These hills and moors and rocky islands would not appeal to a modern farmer, but we have learnt from those who came before us.
We know that if you put rugged well adapted livestock into these tough places they will thrive, grow strong and fit and in due course they will make the very best, the tastiest and healthiest of meat.
This does not happen overnight. You cannot rush the best meat. – Fortunately there is no one here in a rush.
We do not know everything and we make mistakes, but we know how we want to live:
Stepping gently on the earth and giving respect to people and animals.
- that if we want to eat the meat of animals we must take responsibility for the death of those animals
- and, if they are domesticated animals, we must take responsibility for the life of those animals.
We have chosen to manage cattle and sheep who are well adapted to our tough environment and can be left to enjoy a free life on the hills for most of the year.
We would never keep animals in buildings
We will keep animals in fields, but only for limited periods and for a specific reason, for instance: for lambing or tupping. When this is no longer necessary they can go back to their hills
Lambing for us is not a difficult time, many people have the idea that lambing is all about heroic human interference with the lambing mothers, keeping them in pens, watching them constantly, shoving hands in, tugging and pulling.
How about the alternative of keeping them grazing naturally, having their lambs naturally and feeding them naturally? This seems to us the preferable way and it is easily managed by having good stock, who are not asked to have too many lambs in the course of their life, and by not trying to get ever bigger lambs out of their poor suffering bodies.
We think that the animals should be given that respect.
As with lambs, so with calves. Being born naturally and outside. No tugging and hauling and winching. Which only becomes necessary if the bull is too big for the cow, or if you have been so disrespectful as to breed an animal who cannot give birth unaided – just so that you get a bit more meat.
We do not believe in killing babies
We sell only mature meat.
Our mutton producing wedders are not killed until they are at least thirty months old and none of our cattle killed before forty two months.
This should be compared to the usual farming practice of killing lambs of under six months and cattle at about eighteen months.
By not rushing, our stock gets a better life and we get better meat.
Meat producers are often properly criticised for raising meat on land that could feed many more people by growing crops –
Not a criticism that applies to us – no one has ever thought they could grow crops where we raise animals
Because our beasts are living on the heather grasses and herbs of the hill our meat is healthier as well as tastier.
What delightful synchronicity
We are very keen on meat, but we would rather become vegetarian than eat the kind of meat that is commonly sold in the shops in this country.
Fortunately we do not have to – and neither do you.