Husband and wife team, John and Rachael Penny. launched Simply Herdwick after a couple of trips to the Lake District where they fell in love with the native Herdwick Sheep. ‘With their smiling white faces and their beautiful grey fleece, we were keen to bring something a little different home to Scotland.’
From John’s farming knowledge and experience they knew they would not be the most commercially viable breed, their carcass weight generally considered too light for general butchers but they realised their Herdwicks produce a very tasty meat. As one of our heritage breeds, Herdwick Sheep are on England’s Slow Food International Ark of Taste.
They are completely grass fed and allowed to mature slowly and naturally creating lean, delicately flavoured, tender meat. As a slow maturing breed almost all the lambs are kept until between 1 and 2 years old, so by the time they are ready for the table they are known as Hogget.
The high welfare life of these Herdwicks culminates in a brief trip to a small, family run slaughterhouse at Cupar where they are hung for at least ten days. They work closely with their butcher Stuart Minick based at Abernethy to develop products to suit all customers. As well as all the traditional roasts, chops and steaks they also provide a range of sausages, burgers and pies and more recently steaks and roasts in a marinade ready for the oven. ‘It is very important to us to minimise waste as far as possible and so we use as much of the carcase as we can.’
They produce a small range of bonnie high quality handmade crafts and gifts using the beautiful grey Herdwick wool. From Laundry balls to pin cushions, felted soaps and happy sheep! (pictured)
Produce is sold direct to local customers and they regularly attend farmers markets in Forfar, Fife and local one-off events. Throughout the summer they also attend an indoor market at Guardswell Farm, Abernyte.
They also offer free local delivery and can deliver UK wide via a courier.
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photos © Simply Herdwick