As is so often the case with us Brits, unfamiliarity breeds contempt. We’ve all been reared on Sunday Roasts; we’ve suckled at Bangers and Mash’s proverbial teat and even gorged ourselves giddy on Black Pudding, but still change it seems is sometimes hard for us.
This is something that really gets my goat generally but more specifically in respect of the latest food trend: goat meat. Despite clear, scientifically-proven health benefits – as well as the rising popularity of goat’s cheese and milk among shoppers in recent years – goat meat is not yet routinely stocked by major supermarkets.
However, top food trend predictions for 2019 have it poised and ready to become the next big thing. And, as ever, one local butcher is ahead of the curve.
Family-run butchers Poxons, which is based in its recently refurbished and redesigned store on Windmill Lane, Castlecroft, is leading the charge to be the first local stockist of goat meat.
After years of selling to its loyal customers an impressive selection of fresh meats, homemade pies and ready-cooked meals, boss Nigel Poxon wanted to add goat meat to his quality produce after a visit from a family member made him aware that foodies down South are clamouring for the stuff.
“A family member, who owns East Farm in Wiltshire, came to see me about goats meat towards the end of last year, explained the health benefits and its popularity down South, in London especially, so I introduced it myself, sourcing it directly from the farm,” says Nigel.
And customers are already lapping up the newest addition at Poxons.
He continues: “Goat meat is selling really well and customers are already putting it on their weekly shop. I’m even finding that I’m getting new customers from further a field too.”
And it’s really no surprise given that goat meat is significantly lower in calories than beef, lamb (which it is said to taste similar to) and pork.
Nigel knows that goat meat is lower in cholesterol than red meat and is definitely a healthier option but is all too aware that people are unfamiliar with it, so he’s trying to open their minds. So the team at Poxons are keen to put paid to some of the myths us Brits still have about the subject, even though in many countries goat is on every menu. However, in Britain it is mainly associated with cooking from the West Indies in curries or from the Indian sub-continent, where is seen as equivalent to lamb.
“Many people are a little sceptical as they expect it to be too strong or indeed taste really “goaty”, like goats cheese. However British goat meat couldn’t be more different, and it frequently surprises customers at Poxons, who find it mild in flavour and tender.”
Of course – as with any meat product out there– there are varying degrees of quality and as such Nigel was determined to guarantee that the top quality standards his business is known for remained.
“Obviously there are different qualities of goat meat available, what I’m selling is of excellent quality.
“The British-reared goats available at Poxons are a South African Boer goat (or “farmer’s goat”) that is 2-3 times the size of some of the small breeds found around the rest of the world.
“They live a free range, healthy life on East Farm, socialising naturally as part of a herd (baby goats – known as kids – are reared by their mothers and wean themselves naturally). Browsing on hedgerows and shrubs, the farm’s ancient downland offers them their complete range of nutrients.
“The goats have access to housing as they desire when the weather determines, as they don’t like wet weather due to the lack of lanolin in their coats.”
And this pastoral environment shows itself best in the mild flavour and tenderness Nigel’s customers have reported.
“Because the animal has been reared to the highest British standards of welfare, which keeps stress at an absolute minimum, the meat is kept tender and succulent.”
In addition, campaigners warn that nearly 100,000 young male goats are being euthanised each year in the UK, due to being unable to be used for the production of milk and cheese, and also because farmers anticipate minimal demand for their meat.
So with all this and more going for goat meat, we thought we’d help you get to know man’s oldest domesticated animal.
- Goats enjoy interaction with humans, and have psychological needs.
- You can distinguish a goat from a sheep because a goat’s tail goes up and a sheep’s tail goes down.
- The majority of goats are very choosy eaters and don’t, as popular wisdom says, eat everything. They seek out only the nutrients they need from various plant sources.
- In the Doomsday book, goats were listed in large numbers, but with the growth of the wool industry goats were rapidly replaced with sheep.
Poxons of Castlecroft Quality Butchers
Specialists in high quality British meat for over 50 years.
96 Windmill Lane, Castlecroft, Wolverhampton WV3 8HG Tel: 01902 761693
www.poxonsbutchers.co.uk Open Tuesday to Saturday