In the latest instalment of ‘Meet the Producer’ Milly finds out about Norfolk based meat and knitwear business Eco Ewe from owner Olivia Shave
What is your backstory? Have you always been involved in Agriculture?
We started farming as a family back in 2014 following a family bereavement, starting with five orphan lambs and building our flock over time. We then grew over the next few years and opened a farm shop just before the first lockdown initially as an outlet for our meat and ready meals. We soon outgrew our premise, after stocking over 250 other products, all made by other local producers and decided rather than expanding, we would re-diversify into our existing range of knitwear and sheepskins.
What do you produce or grow?
We produce grass fed lamb which has been awarded with the Great Taste Award, reared as holistically as possible with minimal antibiotic use. We farm regeneratively working with nature.
Our aim is to be as sustainable as possible utilising every part of our lambs and celebrating each life by creating lasting products such as our range of knitwear, wool and sheepskins as well as selling our meat locally.
Who do you supply to or how can people buy your products?
We sell direct to consumer via our website and social media channels. Our lamb is available seasonally as whole or half lamb boxes as well as delicious, homemade ready meals as we found a real gap in the market where a lot of customers were telling us they loved to eat lamb but didn’t know how to cook it.
Our knitwear and sheepskin range is available all year round to order via our Website and at present, we ship all over the UK.
What does the future look like for you?
This year we are planning substantial farm growth as we have been fortunate to attain further grazing.
We all have subsidiary businesses alongside our farming life so it’s busy 24/7 especially from April to October.
During the year we pride ourselves on stewarding at local Agriculture Shows, making appearances, and sharing tips at cookery theatres.
My work as Norfolk’s regional community supporter for Love British Food means networking and raising the profile of British Food Fortnight and also Love Lamb Week. With this and writing my own British Lifestyle Column for Farming Monthly, attending events for my new business Cheesecake Norfolk I’m sure in for a hectic year.
Do you enjoy cooking? Is there a favourite go-to meals or recipe you could share?
I love cooking! My favourite recipe is my own Lamb Moussaka Recipe which can be found in For The Love Of The Land II written by Jenny Jefferies: https://www.jennyjefferies.co.uk/for-the-love-of-the-land/
Here is the recipe that you can follow at home:
Lamb Moussaka by Olivia Shave of Eco Ewe
PREPARATION TIME: 30 MINUTES | COOKING TIME: APPROX. 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES | SERVES 6-8
750g lamb mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 heaped tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 bay leaves
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 tbsp light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp tomato purée
200ml red wine
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
6 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 medium aubergines, thinly sliced
550g sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
For the bechamel sauce:
40g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
400ml whole milk
30g parmesan, finely grated 1⁄2 nutmeg, finely grated
1 large free-range egg, beaten
Place the lamb, onion, crushed garlic, oregano, cinnamon and bay leaves into a heavy-based frying pan and cook for 8-10 minutes on a medium heat.Break up the mince using a wooden spoon.
Once the lamb has browned, drain off any excess fat. Continue to cook the mince mixture as you stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper with the sugar, tomato purée, red wine and tinned tomatoes. Bring to a gentle simmer and then leave to cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lamb has tenderised.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a high heat. Drizzle the oil over the sliced aubergine and fry for 4-5 minutes on both sides until golden brown. Set aside on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.
Preheat the oven to 200°c/180°c fan/Gas Mark 6 and bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the sweet potato slices to the pan and cook for 6 minutes, then drain in a colander under cold running water before placing on kitchen paper to drain.
For the bechamel sauce:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, gradually whisk in the flour and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, slowly adding the milk and ensuring you continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth. Return to the heat and gently simmer for 3 minutes while stirring in the parmesan, grated nutmeg, and seasoning to taste. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before whisking in the beaten egg.
Spoon a third of the lamb mixture into a large ovenproof dish and spread out evenly, followed by a third each of the aubergine and potato slices. Repeat twice more to create distinct layers, then finish by pouring the bechamel sauce over the top and smoothing it out so you have an even covering. Sprinkle the moussaka with extra grated parmesan if you like, then place in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until you have a nicely golden topping. Serve with a delicious herby green garden salad.
Published by Meze Publishing
How can people find out more information
People can visit my website: https://www.ecoewe.co.uk
Or follow us at @ecoewe both on Facebook and Instagram
I’m so thrilled to have found out more about this innovative business so please do go and check them out.
And you can find out more about ‘For the Love of the Land’ from author Jenny Jefferies on one of my podcast episodes. Here is the link to tune in: https://player.captivate.fm/episode/1db621db-b03e-487e-a3ea-d13866095806