WITH reference to International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s recent comments on lamb, I have not heard such a crass and ignorant statement as this for years.
English spring lamb at Easter has always been a special treat, these lambs are born at Christmas and early new year. Due to this, and certainly in the Midlands and North, they are born indoors and will, depending on the weather, not go out to grass straight away.
The majority of lambs born in the British Isles are born from mid-February through to the hill lambs in April and concluding early May, thus resulting in the market having a full supply of British lamb from mid-May right through to the following season.
So to correct Trevelyan’s ignorance, autumn is when the market is full of prime British lamb, at its most tasty and succulent best.
The days of struggling to find prime lamb for Christmas, January and February are long gone as my father could tell you. He was a butcher in Keighley and that is how New Zealand lamb came about – to fill a gap in the English domestic market from about the 1950s. So two points.
1. New Zealand lamb has always been available from early autumn through in to the spring.
2. Allowing a foreign product on to an already full if not at times saturated market will only undercut and devalue the high-quality produce of British farmers.
The old saying springs to mind: “Keep your mouth shut and only open it when you know what you are talking about.” Trevelyan should take heed.
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