Purveyors of quality dry aged, free range and organic meats.
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Paddy & Gary Hegarty
The lamb we get from Paddy and Gary Hegarty – father and son, they are from a place just outside Baltinglass, they have a lamb (!) farm, they have been supplying butchers with lamb since the seventies. They used to supply the butchers down on Meath and Moore Street, and they only wanted quality down there. I knew going to him he would still have that consistent quality.
Now his son is after taking over, Paddy, I have a great relationship with him, he picks the lambs every week. We normally go for female lambs, grade 1, top of the range nice fat covering on them. Between 20 and 22 kilos, they always give the best yield for a lamb. We get all our fresh livers from those lambs, so every piece of lamb coming from our shop is from the Wicklow mountains.
The farm is beside a small river, which I think is great for the grass, the grass is better, more fertile. Gives you the great fat on the lamb, and lovely flavour as well.
Gordon Quinn’s philosophy is to simply buy the best quality cattle available. It could be Hereford, Charolais, or Angus but what we look for is the grade. Yes the breed is important but for us it is all about the grade – they grade cattle using the word Europe, so it is E – U – R – O – P , with E being the top grade.
We buy all our beef on the bone so we can get the tag – the tag shows the breed, and the grade, and fat score and the confirmation. Confirmation is very important – for example a T-Bone has to have a certain shape. You can get narrow ones, they don’t have great confirmation. And then there is the fat score, fat is scored from 1 – 6. So we look for around a 4, they score them by looking at the fat, the thickness of the fat. When you get those types of animals in you know the animal has been eating well all year because of the fat that’s on it.
The contrast would be when you go to a supermarket and you see the striploins and they have very little fat on them, and in my opinion that is a bad sign. Sure they may be tender, but they are not as flavoursome as the beef we have.
Margaret McDonnell – she is in the Curragh and she is one of two organic chicken farmers in the country. I have been dealing with her since the Lawlor days. Her chickens are organic, they live for 100 days and they are amazing. I’d say they are the best chickens on the market in Ireland.
Colm Kelly in Kildare selects the best free range pigs from all round Ireland, we buy about 10 a week off them, butcher them ourselves. We make all our sausages from the trim: our breakfast sausages, the pork and leek, cumberland etc.
We buy our bacon from Crowes. Buying pig all I ask for is the fat is an inch minimum. We want the animals to have been eating steadily throughout their lives. Compare that with the thin rind in the supermarkets. Crowes also cure all the rashers for us, that is where we get all the naturally smoked back rashers, using beechwood chips to smoke them.
Select Farms in Monaghan
We source our free range chickens from select farms across Monaghan.