Firstly, a huge thank you to all our supporters who kindly donated wether lambs to the project and the all the breed societies who have offered support and advice so far, do keep sending in your input.

The wethers have all done well, wintering on dairy ground a few miles from John and Maria's farm on the east side of Coniston Lake. They returned in the Spring and have been running in a mixed group of other sheep, including Maria's Castlemilk Moorit breeding ewes, the couple's Hebridean flock and the commercial Cheviots and their crosses. John reports that they have been largely problem-free, with the exception of some issues with lameness, and a very fine-fleeced Shetland insisting on spending time in any prickly vegetation he could find his way into, fortunately this was resolved at clipping time! 

The RBST Cumbria Support Group have been masterminding the project and, with some keen craftspeople in their number, it was decided early on to make as much use of all the "Produce" from the lambs as possible - so the fleece from the lambs has been kept and the skins will be sent away for tanning.

The main tasting event will be held at Tebay Services hotel, which is on the M6 motorway in Cumbria. Owned by the Dunning family and opened in 1972, Tebay was the first service station to focus on local produce, and has recently extended its operations to Gloucester and Cairn Lodge, Scotland. The ethos of the business chimes well with the purpose of the project and we are hoping they can fit us in for an event in early November.

Through Andrew "Farmer" Sharp, we are also planning events afterwards in Newcastle and, in conjunction with Slow Food, at one of their partnership restaurants in Birmingham. Several restaurants in London are also interested.

We are hoping that the programme will include talks about the project, a butchery demonstration and a tasting, celebrating the varied flavours and qualities of the meat. There will be no ranking of breeds, and attendees will be encouraged to match descriptive words to the different dishes, to highlight how distinctive each breed can be.

Invitees will include all the lamb donors and other contributors, also representatives from each breed society, Slow Food, Taste Cumbria, the farming press and other interested parties. If you know of someone who should receive an invitation please do let us know.

The fleece will be displayed by breed, with a display to include information about the fleece itself, yarn quality and weight . There will be an example of spun yarn, raw fleece and a knitted square - and raw fleece will be available in 100g bags for purchase. Skins will be available on pre-order.

If you would like to be added to the special newsletter specifically about the primitive produce project, please email 
[email protected]