So how does Karoo Lamb get its unique flavour and why is it considered special?
The Karoo is a semi-desert area with very little rainfall. It is very dry and arid. Did you know the name “Karoo” is derived from the Khoisan language, meaning “place of thirst”?
The fynbos of the Karoo consists of smaller bushes and shrubs which survive in these conditions. There are about 6000 different types of fynbos of which half are unique to The Karoo.
At first glance, you would think farming sheep is impossible in these conditions and you do not commonly see sheep. The famous windmills are the lifeline of the area, pumping water to enable farming. On average, each sheep requires at least 4 hectares of land. This means farms are huge and another reason why sheep are not always visible.
The Karoo sheep mainly feed on this fynbos, which is nutritious for them. These shrubs have a very herby aroma, varying from rosemary, thyme, sage, eucalyptus and lavender. One can say that the sheep flavour their own meat while grazing. Only sheep that have been grazing on these bushes will acquire this distinctive Karoo meat flavour.
Karoo Lamb Meat of Origin
After years of some farms calling their meat Karoo Lamb, The real Karoo Lamb has a certificate of origin, you can trace your meat back to the exact farm. This certification is the same as with Champagne in France or with Parma ham in Italy.
It specifies that only sheep that were grazing in an area that has at least two out of these six indigenous shrubs; Ankerkaroo (Pentzia incana), Kapokbos (Eriocephalus ericoides), Rivierganna (Salsola glabrescens), Silverkaroo (Plinthus karrooicus), Boegoekaroo (Pteronia glauca) and Skaapbossie (Pentzia spinescens) qualify as Karoo Lamb.
An added bonus, the Karoo sheep are basically forced to be free range. When grazing they walk enormous distances and bear in mind, 1 sheep needs 4 hectares. This is the ultimate free range meat.
This is a truly unique South African product that needs our support. The only lamb we should be eating is Karoo Lamb, and it is the only lamb available through Bay Meat Market.
If you still unsure why you should support Karoo Lamb, read this article.