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And the winner is… Lake District Farmers!

And the winner is… Lake District Farmers!

Lake District farmers, Ark of Taste producers of Herdwick Sheep are the winners of the “Galvin Outstanding Supplier Awards”.

The Michelin starred chefs Jeff & Chris Galvin, brothers and both members of the Chef Alliance, co-owners of seven restaurants in the UK, launched the “Galvin Outstanding Supplier Awards”, an exclusive producers and suppliers contest to honour their food or drink Supplier of the Month. Suppliers and producers are judged on a set of six points, including the quality of the produce as well as the seasonality and regionality of the produce. The awards have come, in part, as a response to the restaurant guests’ growing interest and passion in the origin of the food.

This month, the inaugural winner is Lake District Farmers, producers of Herdwick Sheep, forgotten breed registered on our Ark of Taste programme.

Lake District Farmers has a fair-trade philosophy. They approached the best farms throughout Cumbria and they informed the producers that they would offer them an above market price, in return for their best stock. Through this scheme, buying from the same passionate producers, producing incredible products on the same terrain, being fed in the same method, being given the same quality of life, Lake District Farmers has been incredibly consistent and has been providing sustainability to Farmers. No wonder that they took the overall victory!

The Herdwick Sheep is a fantastic breed worthy of attention and protection – hence the fact it registered as a Forgotten Food in the Ark of Taste programme. The Herdwick Sheep have been farmed in the Lake District for more than 200 years. It is not found in other places in the world and is amongst the highest quality mutton produced anywhere. This is predominantly due to breed, however the rearing is absolutely key also. The Herdwick Sheep are known for their ‘hefting’ instincts. This means that the animals do not have any localisation restraints, there are no fences containing them on the fells, when they want to go home they know where to go. They are also the only sheep with a survival instinct. Extremely agile and fit, they can climb up to 3000 feet in extreme weather conditions to find food. One of the farmers, Eric Taylforth, had some Herdwick Ewe’s which were buried under a snow drift for 4 weeks. The Ewe’s came out of the snow drift alive. They had eaten the wool from their own bodies to survive. The sheep are very slow growing because they are reared so naturally. The unique minerals, nutrients and mosses found on the fells certainly play their part in the flavour profile also. The quality of life these animals experience is like no other as they are reared by passionate and experienced farmers who care about and understand the animals.

To be acknowledged in this format as a supplier is extremely unique, and we feel honoured and humbled to receive the award for excellence. To be associated with the Galvin group is something we take great pride in, because they are exemplary in their contribution both inside and outside of the industry. We have an ethic at LDF, we win together, and we lose together – so I am extremely proud of them all.”
Daniel Austin, Managing Director of Lake District Farmers.

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