It is always reassuring to know exactly where your food is coming from and this is a great scheme for both farmers and their customers, as everyone gets a fair deal.
Anyone can buy from Ring of Kerry Quality Lamb online at www.kerrylamb.ie. You simply decide whether you want a half lamb or a whole lamb, it is then butchered to individual requirements for delivery locally or anywhere in Ireland; all lambs are traceable from farm to fork and each vac pack is labelled accordingly.
It all started in 2009, when 30 farmers from around the Ring of Kerry who were frustrated by the unsustainably low price that their lambs were fetching, got together and established the group with support from Teagasc, Bord Bia, Kerry Country Enterprise Board and South Kerry Development Partnership.
The main aim was to sell their lamb directly, but quality was also an issue - the farmers wanted to ensure that lamb eaten by tourists visiting Kerry originated from the area, which was not always the case when they were sent away to abbatoirs outside the area for slaughter; all are now slaughtered by local butchers and matured for at least seven days for flavour and tenderness, thereby guaranteeing local produce and best practice.
All farmers supplying to group belong to the Bord Bia Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme and meet necessary criteria including animal welfare and environmental requirements, and no intensive feeding.
Different types of lamb are available all year. Hill lamb is complementary to the more familiar lowland lamb, being available from August to March, and is smaller and leaner, with a more intense slightly herby flavour coming from the grasses it feeds on.