Mutton Club agenda

Events are being planned in Wales and the North of England in 2007 for The Mutton Renaissance Club, the group launched by the Prince of Wales earlier this year.

The thinking behind the club's programme of open events is to bring together operators from across the supply chain to share ideas and experiences, discuss trading opportunities and obstacles and, through this, develop a sustainable market for the best mutton.

Passionate campaign supporter and award-winning chef Nigel Howarth will host the first event near Blackburn on 28 February. A farm walk, butchery demonstration and an analysis of mutton cuts will start the day before the group heads off to The Three Fishes, Howarth's nearby dining pub, for taste tests and debate.

A similar format will unfold at The Rhug Estate Organic Farm in North Wales in May and a date will be confirmed shortly. As one of the largest organic farms in Wales, with over 4,000 breeding ewes, the Rhug Estate is now offering mutton as part of its successful farm shop and mail order business.

The demand for new event dates follows a successful gathering of the club in London on 30 November. Club members and campaign supporters met at Borough Market for a talk, tour of the site and discussion on butchery from Farmer Sharp.

After savouring a slow-braised shoulder of Renaissance Mutton, topped with Dijon mustard and a herb crust, John Thorley, National Sheep Association policy director, said: "Businesses are optimistic about the prospects for Renaissance Mutton. Farmers, retail butchers and chefs all contributed to the discussions, where the subjects of the specification, price and seasonality were all raised. We look forward to meeting club members in the north west and Wales in 2007, so we can develop the skill base for mutton of the highest quality."

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