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Secretary of State to enjoy iconic Lakeland meat
10:00am Wednesday 15th January 2014 in News
The iconic Lakeland Herdwick will be served to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Paterson, at a Westminster reception today.
At Mr Paterson's request, Lakeland Herdwick, which proudly boasts a PDO* status, will be enjoyed by almost 100 journalists and ministers at the biannual reception.
Acclaimed Cumbrian chef Ryan Blackburn will serve the guests a delicious broth, made with Herdwick shoulder meat, sourced from Jon Watson at Yew Tree Farm, Coniston, formerly the farm of Beatrix Potter.
Herdwick farmer Isaac Benson, who runs the 850acre Fell Foot Farm in Little Langdale, near Ambleside, will make his first ever visit to London to give an insight into Herdwick farming and the fascinating life of the Herdwick flocks.
Mr Benson has farmed all his life, having previously lived and worked at the family farm in Langdale. Isaac's 900 Herdwicks live on the Fells from December to April, coming in only for lambing and flock management.
He said: "I'm passionate about producing quality Herdwick meat, not only is this way of life the foundation of the Cumbrian landscape, but the quality of the product is outstanding and is recognised by top chefs throughout the country.
"Farming is in my blood, but the financial rewards are not good. Upland farming must be recognised for the work it does in sustaining the landscape and delivering excellent produce."
Mary Houston, Taste Cumbria Manager, said: "Working with the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association and funded by the Prince's Countryside Fund, The Herdwick project works to raise the profile of Herdwick meat, encourage trade links and highlight the value of our upland farms.
"The Herdwick and Herdwick farming are integral to Cumbria and The Lakes however some upland famers earn as little as £6,000 or less, which is less than half the minimum wage. Our dramatic Fells and landscape are where the Herdwick flocks graze freely, through all weathers.
"This true free-range farming ensures Herdwick meat has a wonderful gamey flavour like no other meat and we need to see it on more menus."
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