Mutton in USA

Bob and Carolyn Kennard are travelling around the USA looking at the state of mutton production. They start their journey in Colorado.

Sheep Count

“The sheep are on the move!” Patrick announced. We had heard about these biannual migrations and didn't want to miss out on the spectacle. So when he dropped in to Oogie and Ken McGuire's Desert Weyr farmhouse in Colorado, we were ready.

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Have Sheep Will Travel

You may have heard of the comedian Tony Hawks who travelled round Ireland with a fridge and wrote a best selling book about his adventures. Bob wrote the book first then crossed America with three carcasses of mutton. OK, so we had a couple of cooler boxes and an aeroplane to help, but the arrangement was nevertheless, as they say over here, ‘kinda neat’.

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The Farmer, the Guardian and the Wilderness

In many ways this part of Colorado reminds me of Wales. Now you are probably thinking that's a daft thing to say but just imagine you are looking back home the wrong way through a telescope. The mountains in the distance sprinkled with snow, the deep valleys dammed with reservoirs, the Black Welsh Mountain sheep grazing peacefully. The principles of livestock farming are the same the world over, the scales and conditions may be different but we speak the same language. Desert Weyr does not fit the grand ranching stereotype we imagine from ‘over the pond’, the acreage is small. Nevertheless of paramount importance is the relationship between farmer, flock and dog - Bob writes more about this and shepherding in the UK in ‘Much Ado About Mutton’.  The need for large dogs who could withstand wolf attack has long been a thing of the past but through the telescope, this time the right way round, the challenges here are bigger and more scary!

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Big Country, Small World

“We’ve been invited to a sausage hot pot,” Oogie tells us,  “so you need to figure out what kind of sausages you want to make to take along.”

It was probably 25 years since we’d first made our own sausages but we decided on Boerwors. It seemed the obvious choice with mutton as the main ingredient, partnered by beef and pork.

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Colorado, first meal

The mutton tastes good at 6,200 feet. But it isn’t just due to the ambiance –yes the meaty chops we tuck into are accompanied by a rather good locally made red Syrah, and the mountain views from the farmstead are indeed stunning, but it would taste exceptional on its own, anywhere. To understand just what makes this mutton so succulent you have to look at its provenance.

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