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The Prince of Wales Congratulates Wiltshire Shepherdess as her Mutton Wins Best Organic Meat in Britain at the National Organic Food Awards

    • Jane Kallaway from Langley Chase Organic Farm wins Best Meat for her organic Mutton.  The Farm’s Organic Lamb wins highly commended.

    • Farm beats all other meat producers to win award.

    • Produce is available nationwide via www.langleychase.co.uk and Langley Chase will be at The Organic Food Festival in Bristol on 4 & 5 September.

    • One minute film of the striking multi-horned sheep: http://bit.ly/lcof-film

    Langley Chase Organic Farm, Chippenham, Wiltshire, has won the Meat Category at the National Organic Food Awards - recognising the farm as producing the best tasting organic meat in Britain. The awards were presented in Clarence House Garden, London, with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in attendance, on Wednesday 26 July.

    Farmer Jane Kallaway won the award for her rare breed Manx Loaghtan organic mutton.  The farm’s rare breed organic lamb was runner-up, receiving a Highly Commended Award.

    The National Organic Food Awards, run by the Soil Association, is recognised as the premier competition of its kind in the UK with major retailers to small specialist producers taking part.  For the Meat Category judges had the difficult task of selecting the winner from all different types of meat produce including fish, chicken, venison, beef and lamb.

    Soil Association Director, Helen Browning, presented the awards. The Prince of Wales, Patron of the Soil Association and well know for his interest in organic farming, spoke to the award winners, including Jane Kallaway at length.  His Royal Highness has a particular interest in mutton – founding the Mutton Renaissance campaign in 2005 to encourage people to eat more mutton.  

    Langley Chase Organic Farm exclusively rears Manx Loaghtan sheep, a striking four-horned primitive rare breed sheep thought to have been introduced into the UK by the Vikings. The breed produces dark meat significantly lower in fat and cholesterol than commercial sheep breeds.  Jane knows each of her sheep and they are reared slowly and naturally on the farm’s native species wildflower and herb meadows which give the lamb and mutton its award winning taste.  Since 2001 the farm has won 14 National Organic Food Awards including Best Organic Meat and Best Organic Lamb.  Produce is sold locally and nationally online:  www.langleychase.co.uk

    This year’s judges included writer, broadcaster and comedian, Hardeep Singh Kohli, top chefs Sophie Grigson and Sara Berg; organic entrepreneur Jo Wood and food critic and journalist William Sitwell to name a few.

    National Organic Food Awards Judges said: “Langley Chase Organic Mutton is a really splendid piece of meat, juicy and perfectly tender – a lesson in why people should eat good mutton.  It is tender, flavourful, really satisfying with great texture and flavour, succulent with great presentation”

    Mrs Jane Kallaway said: “I am delighted to win this award, not only for myself and the farm, but also for mutton – a much overlooked versatile meat that deserves greater recognition.  I am also thrilled that our lamb was Highly Commended.  To have our products at the top of the Awards is just wonderful. The win is even more special knowing that we have been recognised as the best in the UK by some of the top chefs and food critics in the country.

    “It was an enormous pleasure to meet The Prince of Wales.  He warmly congratulated me, said our Award was a huge success and was delighted for our major achievement!  His Royal Highness was interested that we rear mutton near his Highgrove Estate, we talked about our respective flocks and farms and he wished us well for the future.”

    Hardeep Singh Kohli, one of the National Food Award Judges, said:  “Langley Chase Organic Farm produces the best mutton I have ever tasted – I would walk to Wiltshire to get some more!”

    Mrs Kallaway started the flock in response the increasing commercialisation of food production and the dramatic reduction of the UK’s native rare breeds.  She says:  “As a mother of four children I know how important it is to provide organic, high quality and traceable wholesome food. I started the flock in reaction to the BSE crisis as I was concerned what my family was eating, where it came from and how it was reared. Langley Chase enables customers to enjoy delicious organic lamb and mutton that is low in fat and cholesterol, fully traceable and reasonably priced.

    “Being Organic is hugely important to me.  Organic production is the direct connection between our health and the food we eat, it is about supporting native species, localised production and having the highest possible standards of welfare for animals and the environment.

    Langley Chase Organic Farm’s website is www.langleychase.co.uk

    Langley Chase will be at The Organic Food Festival in Bristol’s Harbour side on 4 & 5 September.                                              

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    Further information and pictures of sheep and the awards:

    Rams on the Run:  A short (40 secs) film of the striking multi-horned Langley Chase Flock being moved after shearing: http://www.langleychase.co.uk/film.htm

    About Langley Chase Organic Farm’s awarding winning Lamb and Mutton
    Langley Chase’s Manx Loaghtan sheep grow slowly and naturally on the farm’s wildflower pastures and herb rich meadows, the hay is home grown. This simple, natural, system enables the farm’s lambs to mature at their own pace and gives them their award winning taste.

    The farm sells its produce to food lovers across the UK via its website – www.langleychase.co.uk. The website details all aspect of farm management and flock production, enabling people to find out exactly how their sheep are raised. Regular open days are held and the farm has an active education programme enabling school children and adults to learn more about organic farming. Other visitors to the farm have included the BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme, BBC World Service and BLUE PETER, with presenter Joel finding out about lambing!

    Healthy Organic Meat
    The Manx Loaghtan is significantly healthier than commercially reared lamb. The Scottish Agricultural Colleges found the Manx Loaghtan to be 23 per cent lower in fat and almost 10 per cent lower in cholesterol than commercial breeds. Full details at: www.langleychase.co.uk/healthy-meat.htm

    The Importance of Rare Breeds

    One breed of farm animal becomes extinct every month around the world, according to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. In the UK, industrialised farming has discarded those breeds that don't fit with commercial production. Between 1900 and 1973 the UK lost 26 native breeds of livestock, according to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The result is a farming system centred around a handful of animal breeds, crops and vegetables - with some traditional breeds, like the Manx Loaghtan, at risk. Shoppers purchasing rare breed meat help keep rare breeds alive by assisting in the economic viability of farms rearing rare breed animals, thus helping these farms to keep going and the increasing the number of rare breeds animals and helping others taste these fantastic breeds and plants and become interested in our faming heritage

    About the Manx Loaghtan Breed
    The Manx Loaghtan is one of the oldest and most striking breeds of sheep in the UK. Termed 'a primitive rare breed' it is classed at as 'at risk' by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The Manx Loaghtan (pronounced Manx Lockton) is fine boned and late maturing, producing a meat with distinctive taste and flavour. The Manx Loaghtan is a hardy mountain sheep, with impressive horns and a dark brown fleece. Four horned rams are particularly striking. The breed has been around unchanged since the Iron Age. Traditionally the Manx was thought to have been introduced into the UK by the Vikings, but bone records from archaeological sites indicate the Manx was probably already here and probably pre-dates Viking invasions. The breed takes its name from the colour of its fleece, derived from two Manx words Lugh(mouse) and Dhoan (brown) or from Lhost dhoan(burnt brown). The lambs are born jet black acquiring the distinctive fleece by the time they are weaned. The Manx Loaghtan used to exist in high numbers on the Isle of Man and across the UK. However by the 1950s there were only a handful left. Today, as with many rare breeds, it is found in a few small flocks around the UK. Find out more here:

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The Prince of Wales inspects Jane Kallaway’s Winner’s Certificate.  
Credit:  © JayButcherPhotography


Left to right:  Mrs Jane Kallaway, Winner Best Organic Meat, with Soil Association Director, Helen Browning.  
Credit:  © JayButcherPhotography

Bill and Jane Kallaway in conversation with National Organic Food Awards Judge, Hardeep Singh Kohli and Soil Association Director, Helen Browning.
 Picture credit:  © JayButcherPhotography