Monday, June 18, 2012

A Second Delicious Awards Finalist Nomination Gains Attention for Mallow

For the second year running, Granite Belt's Mallow Organic Lamb has gained the attention of leading chefs and foodies, scoring a highly acclaimed Delicious Magazine Produce Awards finalist nomination.

On learning of this outstanding achievement food journalist, Fiona Donnelly, went in search of the fourth-generation wool producers, Andrew and Helen Ferrier, who are taking the organic lamb market by storm.

Quality matters at Mallow. Unlike some farms, the Ferriers don't buy in lambs so they are in complete control of the chain from conception, which assures them of quality.
Helen says even she has been surprised by the taste and tenderness of the lamb meat raised on nutrient-dense pastures.

Their distribution network is also growing. Initially it was just private orders through word of mouth and a stall at the local markets. Now their lamb is being stocked at organic butchers on the Gold and Sunshine coasts. Several Granite Belt restaurants feature the meat on their menus. The farm will also make drops to Brisbane on request.

This year's Delicious Magazine Produce Awards dinner will be held at Aria Brisbane on July 16. So keep your fingers crossed they take out the top gong!

In the meantime, Andrew tells us what to look for in organic lamb.
  • Organic pasture-fed lamb fat should have a yellow tinge and not be too white. White fat can mean the lamb has been grain-fed.
  • Lamb flesh shouldn't be too pale. If it's pale it may be "watery". If the meat is very dark it could mean you're buying hogget rather than lamb, which should be cheaper and has a stronger flavour.
  • Fat is necessary for flavour and keeping meat moist and tender while cooking. On loin chops it should be 6-8mm thick. If it's 10-12mm it's a sign the lamb is over-fat. Lamb legs need to have a decent fat cover for best roasting results.
  • You may not be able to poke at plastic-covered lamb cuts at the supermarket, so Andrew suggests buying meat from a specialist butcher where you can build the trust. Texture-wise there should be some resistance to your finger but not too much.
  • Look at the rib bones on a rack or cutlets. They should not be too thick on premium cuts - no more than 8mm in width. If they are 10mm it's a sign you could be buying hogget rather than lamb.