The Prince of Wales sees mutton win best organic meat in Britain award

The mat category in the National Organic Food awards has been won by the Langley Chase Organic Farm, which is in Chippenham, Wiltshire. They are now officially recognised as the producers of the best tasting organic meat in the UK. The annual awards were held at Clarence House on Wednesday, and HRH Prince Charles, a well-known advocate of all things organic, was present.

Jane Kallaway, a farmer from the Isle of Man won an award for her rare breed of Manx Laoghtan organic mutton, and the farm also came runner up in this category, receiving an award of high commendation. The National Organic Food Awards is run by the Soil Association, are recognised as the premier contest of its kind in Britain, with everyone from tiny specialist producers to major retailers taking part.

In the meat category alone, the judges had the unenviable task of having to select a winner from the dozens of different kinds of meat that were entered including chicken ,fish, beef, lamb and venison. The awards were presented by Helen Browning, the Director of the Soil Association.

Afterwards, Prince Charles spoke to the winners at length, and he has previously spoken of how much he enjoys this event and how important he feels they are. He spent a long time talking to Jane Kallaway, as he himself has an interest in mutton, having founded the Mutton Renaissance campaign back in 2005 to encourage more people to eat mutton.

Langley Chase Organic Farm exclusively rears Manx Loaghtan sheep, a striking four-horned primitive rare breed sheep thought to have been introduced into the UK by the Vikings. The breed produces dark meat significantly lower in fat and cholesterol than commercial sheep breeds.  Jane knows each of her sheep and they are reared slowly and naturally on the farm’s native species wildflower and herb meadows which give the lamb and mutton its award winning taste.  Since 2001 the farm has won 14 National Organic Food Awards including Best Organic Meat and Best Organic Lamb.  Produce is sold locally and nationally online:  www.langleychase.co.uk.

This year’s judges included writer, broadcaster and comedian, Hardeep Singh Kohli, top chefs Sophie Grigson and Sara Berg; organic entrepreneur Jo Wood and food critic and journalist William Sitwell to name a few.

National Organic Food Awards Judges said: “Langley Chase Organic Mutton is a really splendid piece of meat, juicy and perfectly tender – a lesson in why people should eat good mutton.  It is tender, flavourful, really satisfying with great texture and flavour, succulent with great presentation”

Mrs Jane Kallaway said: “I am delighted to win this award, not only for myself and the farm, but also for mutton – a much overlooked versatile meat that deserves greater recognition.  I am also thrilled that our lamb was Highly Commended.  To have our products at the top of the Awards is just wonderful. The win is even more special knowing that we have been recognised as the best in the UK by some of the top chefs and food critics in the country.

“It was an enormous pleasure to meet The Prince of Wales.  He warmly congratulated me, said our Award was a huge success and was delighted for our major achievement!  His Royal Highness was interested that we rear mutton near his Highgrove Estate, we talked about our respective flocks and farms and he wished us well for the future.”

Hardeep Singh Kohli, one of the National Food Award Judges, said:  “Langley Chase Organic Farm produces the best mutton I have ever tasted – I would walk to Wiltshire to get some more!”

Mrs Kallaway started the flock in response the increasing commercialisation of food production and the dramatic reduction of the UK’s native rare breeds.  She says:  “As a mother of four children I know how important it is to provide organic, high quality and traceable wholesome food. I started the flock in reaction to the BSE crisis as I was concerned what my family was eating, where it came from and how it was reared. Langley Chase enables customers to enjoy delicious organic lamb and mutton that is low in fat and cholesterol, fully traceable and reasonably priced.

“Being Organic is hugely important to me.  Organic production is the direct connection between our health and the food we eat, it is about supporting native species, localised production and having the highest possible standards of welfare for animals and the environment.

Langley Chase Organic Farm’s website is www.langleychase.co.uk.

Langley Chase will be at The Organic Food Festival in Bristol’s Harbour side on 4 & 5 September.