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Questions and Answers
What are the Omega Lamb Project’s objectives?
To produce the best red meat in the world by meeting the eating quality, health and sustainability needs of our consumers using the very best all-natural farming systems. To this end our animals are carefully measured and selected, not just for productivity but for eating quality, Omega-3 and polyunsaturated fatty acid content and their ability to thrive in New Zealand’s hill country. We are discovering that these benefits are compounding – what is good for the animal and sustainability also improves taste and delivers a healthier product.
Does Omega lamb have more Omega-3?
We select animals only at the very top end of natural variation Omega-3 and polyunsaturated content for lamb and farm these in systems that further enhance Omega-3 levels. We are currently working through the processes to make official nutritional composition claims.
How is Omega Lamb packed and cared for post slaughter?
Post-farm all product is packed to the highest hygienic standards in a plant owned and managed by New Zealand’s leading meat co-operative, Alliance Group Ltd. It is aged for at least 10 days to ensure the best possible quality.
How best to treat and prepare the lamb?
Omega Lamb’s taste means it needs little or no embellishment. The lamb is succulent and delicious with most cooking methods. To ensure optimum shelf life product needs to be stored at between 0 and -2’C before use.
What do the ethical and sustainable practices involve?
The lambs are free range, ranging across hundreds of hectares of extensive mountain pastures. Their mothers’ naturally higher fat levels make them considerably more robust in that environment. The lambs are 100% grass fed, and after moving to the lower country, finished exclusively on a lamb’s luxury food – pasture and chicory herbs. The health status of the lambs is monitored closely from birth, and the sheep are carefully selected for health qualities as well as for the Omega 3 characteristics. The artisan farmers manage their properties to strict animal and environmental welfare guidelines based on an evolving quality assurance programme for best practice in animal welfare, food safety, environmental stewardship and health and safety.
What breed is the sheep?
The animals are a selection of NZ white-faced breeds bred specifically for the Omega Project. We have screened hundreds of genetic lines for the taste and fat characteristics that we are looking for and brought the very best together in our flock at Stag Valley, Lumsden New Zealand. Because we developed the breed, the lambs’ parentage can be traced right back to the first sires.
Where are the farms?
Lamb supplied in 2016 comes from Headwaters farms in the foothills of the Southern Alps. As the hill country dries in summer, lambs are brought down to rich chicory-based pastures at Waifield in Riversdale, Caberfeidh station in the Hakataramea Valley and Stag Valley in Lumsden.