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Waitrose lamb

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Waitrose works with dedicated British and New Zealand farmers to provide tender, naturally-reared lamb, all year round.

essential Waitrose British lamb

Our pre-packed British lamb is naturally reared on known farms in England and Wales, and specially selected for its sweet flavour. It is available in season, from June to December in selected branches.

English lamb
This lamb comes from a small group of farmers in the south and south-west of England, where the milder climate gives a longer grass growing season. English lamb is available all year round from the service counter.

West Country lamb
This comes from a small group of farmers in the English West Country, where the milder climate gives a longer grass growing season. West Country lamb is available all year from the service counter in selected West Country and London branches.

Dorset Breed lamb
Dorset Breed lamb, from Dorset Breed ewes and/or rams, is exclusive to Waitrose. Like many other traditional English breeds of sheep it takes its name from its native county but, unlike most other breeds, the lambs are born throughout the year. Waitrose Dorset Breed lambs are born in autumn, so they provide the first 'new season' British lamb of the year. The Dorset Breed farmers stretch across the South and South West of England (not just Dorset county!). Known for its rich flavour, the meat is available from the service counter in selected branches from February to June.

Organic Welsh lamb
This is lamb reared on a select group of around 50 farms registered to the UK Organic certification bodies. It's available prepacked in selected branches from late spring to early winter.

 

Duchy Originals from Waitrose Lamb (Welsh)
This organic lamb cared for and free to graze the lush valleys, uplands and coastal regions of Wales.

New Zealand lamb

New Zealand's contrasting season to the UK make a perfect fit with the UK lamb season. Waitrose has been working with a group of more than 250 farmers in New Zealand for a number of years, to supply lamb that is produced to the same high standards of welfare and care as our UK lamb. Internationally famous for its tenderness and sweet flavour, Waitrose New Zealand lamb is available prepacked, from December (when the UK season is tailing off) to Early June.

Frozen New Zealand lamb
Produced to set farm assurance standards. The meat is matured for tenderness, and then quickly frozen to lock in the flavour. It's available all year round in our frozen cabinets.

Lamb is a seasonal meat so to guarantee that our lamb is 'best in season', we work with dedicated groups of carefully selected farmers in the UK and New Zealand. This means we can offer the best tasting lamb all year round. Many of our farmers have been supplying us for more than 10 years, so they understand and share our values and commitment to achieving the highest standards of quality, food safety and animal welfare. Waitrose rewards these farmers with prices above market rates. This long-term commitment gives farmers the financial security they need to invest in sustainable farming methods that benefit the environment and encourage wildlife.

The lamb is reared on open pastures, with shelter for harsh weather, on a natural forage diet, supplemented with hay or root crops when grass is in short supply. We can trace all our lamb back to the group of farms where it was reared. The meat is carefully matured on the bone to further enhance the tenderness and flavour, then hand-cut by skilled butchers, using traditional butchery methods.

Organic New Zealand lamb
This lamb is reared to standards set down by the New Zealand organic certification bodies, which are accredited by the UK Soil Association. It's available prepacked, from late January to May and links in with the Welsh Organic Lamb season.

FAQs

What's special about Waitrose lamb?

Lamb is a seasonal meat so to guarantee that our lamb is 'best in season', we work with dedicated groups of carefully selected farmers in the UK and New Zealand. This means we can offer the best tasting lamb all year round. Many of our farmers have been supplying us for more than 10 years, so they understand and share our values and commitment to achieving the highest standards of quality, food safety and animal welfare. Waitrose rewards these farmers with prices above market rates. This long-term commitment gives farmers the financial security they need to invest in sustainable farming methods that benefit the environment and encourage wildlife.

The lamb is reared on open pastures, with shelter for harsh weather, on a natural forage diet, supplemented with hay or root crops when grass is in short supply. We can trace all our lamb back to the group of farms where it was reared. The meat is carefully matured on the bone to further enhance the tenderness and flavour, then hand-cut by skilled butchers, using traditional butchery methods.

How does Waitrose stock fresh lamb all year round?

Lamb is reared naturally on grass, and most British lamb is born in the spring, which means that quality lamb is only available seasonally. However, because New Zealand's seasons contrast with our own, the New Zealand lamb season starts as the main UK season tails off. We also stock some English lamb from breeds that naturally produce lamb outside the main season. This guarantees a consistently high quality for our customers throughout the year.

Why does Waitrose sell New Zealand lamb in the winter?

This is when New Zealand lamb is 'in season'. Combined with the 'in season' UK lamb it allows us to offer consistently high quality lamb all year round.

Does Waitrose offer a choice of fresh UK lamb over the winter period?

Waitrose offers a choice of UK lamb on our service counters all year round by sourcing lamb from the West Country of England, which has a mild climate and where the grass grows for longer periods. We also sell Dorset Breed lamb during this period. The lambs are born in September and October and are ready for sale between February and May as the first 'new season' lamb.

What do the UK lamb farmers think of Waitrose selling New Zealand lamb?

British farmers understand the difficulties of rearing British lamb in winter that meets the high standard they achieve with their 'in season' lamb. They see their New Zealand farming counterparts as partners in satisfying Waitrose customer demand for lamb, and in turn the demand for their lamb will remain high when the UK season returns. A number of our Welsh and New Zealand farmers have visited each others countries on organised study tours, forming friendships and sharing knowledge on how to improve their farming businesses.

Does Waitrose support British farmers?

Yes. Our ongoing long-term relationship with our farmers, ensures that they are properly rewarded through good times and bad. For example in 2007, during the Foot and Mouth outbreak, we increased our support by paying prices that exceeded the current market returns for lamb throughout a challenging season. This responsible approach has been applauded by the lamb/beef and pork industries, namely the NFU (National Farmers Union), NSA (National Sheep Association), HCC (Welsh Meat Promotions) and EBLEX (English Beef and Lamb Executive), as a role model for other meat buyers. Many of the UK farmers supplying Waitrose have expressed their gratitude for our support.