‘Damara Môn’ will next week become the latest Anglesey based speciality brand to hit the food scene, offering a new and distinctive eating experience that has already got people across the UK showing interest.
“In many countries around the World, Damara lamb meat is prized and considered to be the best,” explained farmer Peter Williams. “We are the first to bring this experience to Wales and the UK, and although it’s only now we are launching, we have already had a number of queries due to media coverage we got when the lambs were born. The industry is hungry for new eating experiences.”
Damara is the UK’s newest sheep breed, originating from Africa and the Middle East and recognised for their distinct tail and unique hide markings. The first progeny born earlier in 2020 have adapted well to Anglesey’s weather.
“We were confident that the temperature wouldn’t be an issue,” shared Peter. “It gets far colder and hotter in the desert, and it was whilst I worked in Saudi Arabia as a shepherd in the late 80s that I first came across the breed.”
“They seem unfazed by the rain up to now. They seem really happy here out in the fields.”
Together with fellow farmer Bedwyr Jones, and family friend Tricia Sutton who’s a former government vet, Peter formed a Group that went on to secure funding and expertise support from the ‘EIP Wales’ (European Innovation Partnership) programme run by Farming Connect.
“’EIP Wales’ allowed us to make this happen and together with Geraint Hughes our ‘EIP Broker’ we successfully navigated the importation of embryos and semen,” explained Tricia Sutton, also based on Anglesey. “We are now conducting trials to monitor how the pure and crossbreds perform, whilst ensuring at all times we provide the highest welfare conditions for the sheep.”
Along with other farming friends and family members, Peter and Bedwyr formed an ‘Agrisgôp’ Group last August, which is also a support service provided by Farming Connect.
“We have started working on a route to market for ‘Damara Môn’, which has involved initial branding work, setting up communication channels and starting to promote the distinct eating experience we can now offer,” enthused Peter.
‘Damara Môn’ will hold a digital launch week from Monday, November 30th onwards. Planned activities include publishing a specially commissioned video to introduce the brand, launch of their Facebook page, sharing recipe ideas such as slow cooked shoulder of ‘Damara Môn’ lamb and Koftas that proved very popular in the initial tasting trials, and a live Q&A session with Peter, Bedwyr and Tricia over Zoom.
“You can get all the details from the ‘Damara Môn’ Facebook page,” noted Peter. “We want to share our story and allow people to learn about this unique breed of sheep and, of course, to experience the distinct taste.”
Farming Connect, which is delivered by Menter a Busnes and Lantra, has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.