Merino Lamb – beyond the wool

A unique product with a very exclusive supply, Cardrona Merino lamb is bringing the pride of the high country in the south to Plate of Origin. Nosh and Bracken Restaurant will be using Cardrona Merino lamb as one of their hero Otago ingredients in their Plate of Origin dish and will be paired with Bracken Larder Quince Puree – a hard to beat combo.

Merino lamb is nothing like your regular chop. The sheep are grazed on the high country in the south, on a diet of mainly native grasses. The combination of a unique diet and the terrain the sheep are run on, results in a texture and composition of meat far different to what you’d expect from your average lamb.

The fine-grained meat doesn’t have the same fattiness and the rate at which the lamb is produced is slower, consequently producing a more tender meat product –  a perfect premium product for the Plate of Origin competition.

There are five different farms throughout the Cardrona Valley that supply to Cardrona Merino. The decision to farm in the valley was a tactical one that has played to the benefit of Cardrona Merino Lamb. The Cardrona Valley contains seasonal sub-climates, which allow for year round supply of premium lamb.

The Cardrona Merino lamb team believe sharing the story of their natural product is very important. “Consumers want to know what they’re buying. A conscious consumer is a big focus here,” says Rob Ottrey, Sales and Marketing Manager. “The lamb is processed in Timaru and is sold in large to farmers markets and restaurants.”


Although the company is growing every day, the Cardrona team feel they need to maintain their grassroots feel. “We’re an old school style business, the product represents the love and care of the farmers and the chefs showcase that quality”.

Chef Ken O Connell from Bracken has been incorporating this lamb into his menu for some time, saying, “I use Cardrona merino because of its amazing flavour, it is consistent and has a low fat content compared to lowland lamb in particular the rumps, it is a darker meat and the grain is finer which gives a different texture to the meat, I love the flavour as it is a pure meat flavour without that fatty lanoline you tend to get from other breeds, and in the right hands cooked perfectly you don’t need much else with it as it is a stand out flavour.”

Enjoy the Cardrona Merino Lamb Plate of Origin at Nosh from the 15th to 19th March 2016 during Plate of Origin, part of New Zealand Agri Investment Week.


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