Lamb brand in expansion mode

19:00, Oct 31 2012

South Taranaki sheep and beef farmer Richard Brewer is looking forward to dining on his own lamb at a restaurant.

Brewer, in partnership with brother Richard, is part of a consortium of four North Island families selling Coastal Spring Lamb to high-end restaurants and retail outlets in partnership with the brand, Chef's Choice.

"It's pretty exciting to be able to buy our own lamb on a restaurant menu."

The Coastal Spring Lamb brand was launched last year in the lower North Island and is being expanded this spring and summer. "It's always good to have our meat available locally," he said. "We've had lots of positive feedback."

Brewer, a member of Beef + Lamb New Zealand's Western North Island Farmer Council, said their venture fitted in with the organisation's push for farmers to build relationships with their customers and to encourage farmers to put contracts in place for their meat processing.

The brand also offered traceability of their lamb. "Customers can see where it comes from by looking at the website. and buy it online if they want to."

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The partnership's lambs have been weaned and are now being fed on their best pasture, so they're ready to be supplied to the market from this month.

Having lambs ready for processing each week was demanding and required good systems, with weekly weighing to ensure a weekly supply.

"We have to have the lambs ready when we say we're going to have them ready. It's like running a marathon - if you haven't done the training, it shows," said Brewer, himself a successful Taranaki runner. "Everyone can have lambs ready for January."

The Mckelvie and Redmayne families, who are part of the consortium, lambed in June because their coastal farms dried out in summer and had lambs for the market in October, he said.

Taranaki Daily News