Karoo Lamb Original

Thursday, 22 September 2016

There is nothing that says ‘home’ and ‘family’ to us like a Sunday Roast. If you offer us the choice of roast, we’ll say “Leg of lamb!” every time. It’s such a nostalgic, feel-good meal for us, but it has to be real Karoo lamb.

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Karoo lamb is the best lamb you can possibly eat. In fact it’s some of the best meat you can eat. There is a distinctive flavour that browsing among the Karoo scrub gives the meat. It has no equal in South Africa, and is as distinctive as the lamb raised on wild rosemary on certain Greek islands.

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Even if a leg of lamb is no temptation to you, and you prefer a chop or even a lamb burger, using certified Karoo lamb is a game-changer for flavour and texture. We wont put a chop on the braai unless it’s a Karoo lamb chop. Why bother?

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The mission of “Karoo Meat of Origin” is to introduce a certification process that guarantees you are getting what you pay for. Karoo lamb is so good – and so sought-after – that some skelms label any old meat, even mutton, with a Karoo sticker to fetch better prices. Certification ensures that farmers scrabbling a living from the harsh semi-arid Karoo get their due. It also means you get the very best lamb from your butcher.

For lamb to be certified as originating in the Karoo, it must be farmed in a region where certain aromatic fynbos plants are present. Chief among these is the woody skaapbossie, but here is a list of all the contributing aromatics:

Ankerkaroo (Pentzia incana)

Kapokbos (Eriocephalus ericoides)

Rivierganna (Salsola glabrescens)

Silverkaroo (Plinthus karrooicus)

Boegoekaroo (Pteronia glauca)

Skaapbossie (Pentzia spinescens)

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Karoo Meat of Origin certification is only given to lamb that comes from a place where at least two of these indigenous species make up the bulk of the livestock’s diet. These animals are typically allowed to range freely on the veld, like wild game. They give pointed meaning to the term ‘free-range’. Read more about the process and the lore at http://www.karoomeatoforigin.com/, the official website of the certification body.

To walk in the sparse veld of a karoo sheep farm ids to realise just how tough it is for the sheep (and the farmers) top gouge a living out of the landscape. It can take anything from 4 to 12 hectares per ewe to farm in the area.

It costs a little more to buy in and transport certified Karoo lamb, but the results in terms of flavour and returning customers are more than worth the premium. To experience the best in Lamb of Origin Karoo produce, visit our Stellenbosch store at De Warenmarket in Ryneveld Street.

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