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Jersey Farmer Imports Sheep To Improve The Quality Of Local Lamb

Date: 15/11/2004 | Posted by John Garton
Jersey’s largest sheep farmer, Diane Best has imported 11 new sheep into the Island to improve the quality of locally-reared lamb. Diane, who farms at Le Pavillon in St Martin, is Genuine Jersey’s only lamb producer and the arrival of ten ewes and one ram has expanded her flock to 87 sheep.

The sheep, from two farms in Norfolk, were shipped to Jersey on Saturday by boat from Portsmouth. The sheep are members of the Hampshire Down breed and will mix well with the flock’s existing breed Clun Forest to introduce a new bloodline into the Island.

Diane says: “Because there are only a handful of small lamb producers in Jersey it is very difficult to improve the genetics of the Island stock. Breeding with these new sheep will increase the size and health of the flock as well as improving the quality and cuts of meat”.

The sheep are being kept in quarantine at a paddock in St Martins for a month. Diane says she got the idea of importing the animals after attending a wedding in Norfolk this summer.

She says: “I was decorating the church the day before the wedding when I mentioned to my aunt that I was looking to expand the flock. The following day at the wedding a lady came up to me with the details of two local farmers who bred sheep and the rest, as they say, is history”.

Since becoming a member of the Association in May, Diane has built up a loyal customer base selling her lamb from the farm and at the popular continental-style Farmers and Craft Markets run by Genuine Jersey.

She says: “There is a lot of demand for good quality local produce and I use traditional methods to rear the animals which means they do not come into contact with any herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. I have been delighted to see that my lamb is being used by local restaurants such as Genuine Jersey member Portinfer Farm Tearooms which has also helped raise awareness of the product and how it is farmed.