As part of Love Lamb Week, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) and Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) want local consumers to rediscover their love of lamb and find new ways to cook and eat this local product.
“Lamb is central to the agricultural economy here,” said UFU president, Ivor Ferguson.
“It ticks all the boxes for quality, a short supply chain and truly local provenance. Sheep production is a key part of maintaining the countryside and plays an important role in shaping the environment, which we all enjoy. It is one of the very few enterprises in the hills that is truly sustainable, and sheep bred on the hills and finished on lowland pastures is as green a product as you can get,” he said.
Love Lamb Week is a UK-wide campaign, at the start of the autumn, to highlight the benefits of lamb across a wide range of dishes.
In Northern Ireland part of that campaign will be to encourage people to try new lamb recipes, via free samples given out while people are shopping. The LMC’s education manager, Cherrie Kenny, says many consumers still make wrong assumptions about lamb.
“People think it is hard to cook and only suited for traditional roasts. The reality is however very different. Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured Lamb is a versatile product that can be used in a range of dishes. From tasty curries to spiced lamb pittas and from spaghetti bolognese to a rack of lamb, we hope that by tasting how good these recipes are that it will give people the confidence to buy and cook more lamb at home,” she said.
Love Lamb Week, with the hashtag #LoveLambWeek, runs from 1 to 7 September. The key message from the UFU and LMC will be that lamb is tasty and versatile, and very much in line with consumer enthusiasm for a locally sourced product with good, green provenance.
“This is what separates local lamb from product imported, quite literally, from halfway around the world in the southern hemisphere. That is a big selling point in our successful export markets. We will be using this promotion to encourage local consumers to think the same way about our lamb, of which farmers are rightly proud,” said the UFU president.