Booths celebrate seasonal Herdwick lamb and support rural landscape

Herdwick lamb returns to independent retailer Booths’ shelves this month, for its limited four month season. The iconic breed, reared only in the Cumbrian hills, has enjoyed a retail renaissance due to Booths’ support; they are the only large retailer to stock the seasonal delicacy.

Herdwick lamb has historic ties to the Lake District, but there are only 13,000 remaining upland holdings in England and 20% of these farmers are expected to retire or stop farming in the next five years. To improve the viability and profitability of upland farming, Booths work collaboratively with Herdwick farmers. They have devised a unique programme whereby farmer Ian Knight sources Herdwick from several local farms and supplies it to Booths for a guaranteed fair price.

Ian Knight says; “one of the worst things about farming is the uncertainty of the value of lamb. Working with Booths guarantees secure demand and a fair price for our Herdwick lamb. This enables farmers to plan ahead and invest in a sustainable future for their businesses.”

Booths is renowned for its commitment to seasonal produce and connections with rural industry, and as the only supermarket to stock Herdwick, they give the hard pressed hill farmers a premium for their stock. Sales of the rare breed meat increased by 38.8% in 2014.

Herdwick is popular amongst top chefs for its distinct flavour, which develops due to a varied diet of wild grass and herbs. Booths meat buyer David Simons explains ‘”Herdwick is certainly one of Booths hero products and there is growing demand for this meat, with its distinctive gamey flavour of the fells.

“The increase in sales is in part to greater awareness for the breed, customers now ask for Herdwick at the butcher’s counters. We are proud to help sustainably increase our supply of the meat and extend the season over time to give Herdwick the shop window it deserves.”

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