About our SheepIn 1970, Ballakelly Farm’s Suffolk sheep were awarded as best in the UK (Have we got the name of the award/awarding organisation to support this claim). Now, overtime, Farmer Al has put his own hoof print on the hock and mixed in that very same Suffolk calibre with Texel and Bluefaced Leicester breed traits.
The former two breeds lend our sheep its shape, musculature and leanness, while the rarer Bluefaced Leicester component introduces land hardiness, a light-yet-dense native weather fleece and a strong mothering instinct.
Raising sheep on a luscious meadow diet is the best way to produce nourished, happy flocks, and grass-fed animals need to be truly at home in the outdoors. This is the strength of the Ballakelly sheeps’ breed blend: the same qualities that ensure an ideal home-grown diet also enable a free, intuitive life.
The Ballakelly mutton is central to our minimal waste ethos because our lovely ewes become marvellous mutton. Mutton is darker and stronger than lamb, and these qualities are maximised by the process of dry aging. By breaking down and refining the structure of the meat in a humidity controlled environment – usually for four weeks – mutton behaves like spring lamb while offering a genuinely incomparable depth of flavour.
Ballakelly lamb and mutton are robust, lean and powerful, with rich and well-defined melting fats. This is because sheep graze happily and exploratively and grass fed in a rotational system of fields that are themselves conditioned by the local weather and environment.
Our sheep are crucial to our planned regenerative land practices. Ballakelly is unusual for the Isle of Man in raising sheep, pigs and cows together on one farm. It means we are ideally placed to rotate which animals when and where, so that we can utilise back into the land from what the animals give us.