We buy very little meat from the supermarket nowadays.
We have our own pork, our own chickens (if the fox doesn’t get there first) and each year we buy a local lamb from our neighbour and have it butchered locally.
Martial raises his lamb on organic principles, but as he is a smallholder, he doesn’t bother with official tags; he just gets on with it.
His herd of sheep have won prizes in the past at local agricultural fairs and he is rightly proud of them.
This year’s lack of water has a trickle-down effect (curious phrase under the circumstances, as nothing is trickling at all around here).
First of all one of Martial’s wells has dried up and he is having to water his sheep and poultry using the town water, which is expensive.
Because his second well is almost dry, he has cut right back on his vegetable growing – he doesn’t want to have to spend money on watering those as well and will instead tuck into some of the surpluses that he has conserved from previous years.
The price of feed has rocketed sky high – when you can find it that is.
He told us that most of the local farmers will get so little for their cereal products that they are cutting their losses by turning it into winter feed for the cattle.
There is almost no straw since the wheat is so low and of course, hay is scarce as well.
Although the cost of raising his sheep has more than doubled, he has kept the price down to last year’s level, because if he doesn’t sell them he’ll have to carry on feeding them.
This year we have bought two.
Martial is a smallholder and very relieved he’s not raising meat on a large scale farm.
He came round last night to help us tag Noisette (the goat) and told us that at the end of the year he expects a number of farms to be out of business.
The future does not look great.
So, if you can, buy your meat locally from a farmer.
I realise this will come under the heading of luxury for many people so why not get together with some friends and share a 10kg pack?
It will taste better and you will be helping your community’s farmers.