The first of our local “new season lamb” is coming through, and it is sweet and succulent, in fact quite delicious. There is always something special about new season lamb, and our locally bred, grass-fed lamb from our own and other nearby North Devon family farms is, in our view, the very best!
It was traditional to talk about new season lamb as “Easter lamb”. However, in North Devon, our ewes generally have their lambs in early Spring when the first flush of new grass is in the fields, the weather is warmer and the newly born lambs have the best chance of survival. Lambs grow, feeding on milk and then grass for four to six months before they are ready for the table…so we find it difficult to produce new season lamb as early as Easter!
Up until now most of our lamb has been from last year’s crop, what is known as “hogget”. Hogget has grown more slowly, has spent more time in the fields, is fatter and has a stronger taste. It is quite delicious too, and, of course, not to be confused with the even more mature “mutton” which is also available in our shop and on-line.
My favourite way of serving new season lamb, whether a leg or shoulder joint, chops or leg steaks, or even stuffed breast of lamb, is to serve it with those other delicacies of early summer : buttered new potatoes and baby broad beans. Our Sharpes Express new potatoes and our over-wintered Aqua Dulce broad beans are both now ready to be harvested.
The new season lamb, tasty, tender and succulent, is complemented wonderfully by the sweetness of the new potatoes and the crisp freshness of the baby broad beans. A wonderful combination, the taste of early Summer!