A SPECIALIST seafood start-up has added organic beef and lamb to its expanding range of sustainable food from North Uist.
Headed by 24-year-old Douglas Stewart, The Hebridean Food Company has been selling langoustines, lobsters and other shellfish across the UK for the past year via its online shop. The first cuts from its Highland beef and Blackface lamb herds are now also available, with venison to follow in the autumn.
The son of a lobster fisherman, Stewart set up The Hebridean Food Company after studying agriculture and business at the University of Edinburgh. Upon graduating in 2013, he returned home to start his own seafood supply business.
“But I've always intended to share what we produce on land as well,” he said. “The beef and lamb I'm now able to make available is unique. It's a genuinely special product.”
Reared from October to June on an uninhabited island off the west coast of North Uist, the herds graze on machair grasslands and the surrounding shoreline of seaweeds. For the rest of the year they are moved back to the inland heather hills.
This traditional method gives the meat a unique flavour showcased at the launch earlier this week at Cafe St Honore in Edinburgh. It also allows the slow-growing herds to exist in the wild, with less impact on native grasslands.
Though looked after by a local crofter, the herds of left alone to breed, with no intervention during calving and lambing. The beef is dry-aged for three to four weeks, while the lamb has a hanging time of two weeks.