The Smiling Sheep

Cottage Industry - Smallholding Life in Devon

Meat Boxes

Rare Breed Pork

Our rare breed pigsWe keep a small number of rare breed pigs each year. They have a large grass filled paddock to run around in, a deep muddy wallow and a big, comfortable, straw filled pig ark to call home. They have logs and tyres to play with and get lots of human attention (we see them at least 3 times a day). They also get all of our windfall apples and plums straight from the orchard.

Unlike commercial pigs that are described as "outdoor bred" (but spend the vast majority of their lives in indoor pens), our pigs get to see the sky and feel the grass under their trotters every single day.

It's a myth that rare breed pork gets "too fatty". The freedom and exercise that our pigs get means that the pork they produce is rich and flavourful with just the right amount of fat needed to keep it moist, delicious and the crackling crispy. Someone recently described it as "Simply the best pork I have ever eaten".

Two Summer Lamb

Balwen sheepThe Smiling Sheep flock is made up of two rare breeds of sheep - Balwens and Shetlands. Our breeding ewes are visited by the ram every November and their lambs are born in April the following year. These lambs are allowed to grow and mature over the next 18 months. They graze, naturally, on rich spring and summer grass so that, when the time comes, they are mature animals who have led an exceedingly happy, “sheepy” life as part of a small, settled flock.

This contrasts with the life of most commercial lambs which are taken for slaughter at less than 6 months old – often at the time of weaning from their mothers. Sheep farmers need to fatten and sell their livestock as quickly as possible in order to meet the ever increasing demands of consumers (and the major supermarkets) and to get their ewes ready to produce the next crop of lambs. 

The additional advantages of the Smiling Sheep approach are that we can shear our flock and use their fleeces for our throws and shawls and, best of all, the meat that they produce is superb. It has a deep, delicious flavour (“like lamb used to taste”) and the joints can be roasted and served pink or cooked long and slow with loads of herbs and garlic. The chops are tender and delicious when grilled or barbecued.

Although the technical term for meat from a sheep between 1 and 2 years old is “hogget”, we think this just creates unnecessary confusion (some people think it’s a type of pork!) which is why we call our meat “Two Summer Lamb”.

The Boxes

We sell a limited amount of “Two Summer Lamb” and rare breed pork each autumn to our friends and family. The boxes are made up of a variety of cuts (including roasts and chops). In 2016, we also produced a small quantity of traditional, tasty mutton.

There's a recipe booklet, of our tried and tested favourites, for every new customer.

We sell out quickly - please contact us if you wish to hear about our 2017 boxes!

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