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1 October 2011

Original and the Best: Briggs' Shetland Lamb

Richard Briggs is a Shetland Sheep breeder on Shetland and sells whole Shetland lamb PDO. This lamb with subtly different characteristics is available freshly butchered, chilled and packed suitable for home freezing. 18-month old hogget and mutton are also available in the same form.

All the lambs come from pure bred Shetland flocks raised on the isles. They are processed and packed for Richard by the local cooperative, Shetland Livestock Marketing Group.

Delivery direct to you door is available throughout Britain via Royal Mail’s Next Day Special Delivery Service. Briggs’ Shetland Lamb can also, by prior arrangement, deliver the boxes of meat personally in Shetland (Mainland) and to addresses in Eastern Scotland (near to the Aberdeen to Edinburgh Road connection).

Richard believes that the best flavour of Shetland lamb comes from animals that graze the natural Shetland plants and grasses. Consequently, Briggs’ Shetland Lamb is mainly available between September and December.

The Shetland breed of sheep is only half the size of many of the UK’s other breeds. With Shetland Lamb the butcher starts with just 8kg - 14kg compared to the 17kg - 22kg size that is normal for most of the breeds of lamb sold in the UK. Celebrity chefs and food writers have described Shetland lamb as very tender and sweet.

Because the croft at South Nesting, Shetland is mainly rough pasture, Richard produces what Shetlanders would call "park fed lamb".

Shetland Hill Lamb comes from the flock that live more extensively on the open hill at East Kame. (some Hill Lamb I source from neighbours)

Shetland Seaweed Lamb is the most celebrated version of Shetland lamb. The name has been formally adopted by Shetland Livestock Marketing Group to describe lamb from flocks that normally have access to sea shore and are hefted to graze amongst the ebb. These can supplied each autumn.

Healthier Meat
Richard tries to finish his Shetland lambs without the use of corn based feeds. This helps to ensure that the meat has a good balance of the essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6. Research has shown that meat from grazing animals contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 in a ratio of 1:2, which matches the proportion required in human nutrition. However, meat raised on corn based diets was found to have similar combined levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 but in the ratio of 1:6.

In other research, Shetland Lamb was found to have significantly higher levels of a derivative of Omega-6, Conjugated Linoleic Acid when compared to levels normally found in lamb. Conjugated Linoleic Acid has been found to be an agent that prevents the onset of cancer.

What is PDO?
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) – The distinctive red and yellow PDO symbol has been awarded to Shetland Lamb produced and slaughtered in Shetland in recognition of the subtly different characteristics of the meat. Other British products so honoured are Cornish Clotted Cream and Stilton Blue Cheese. Look out for the logo on the front of packaging. The EU Geographical Indicator symbol assures customers of the genuineness of the product’s origin.

Visit Briggs' Shetland Lamb on The Artisan Food Trail here

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