20 August 2012 by Julienne du Toit

Karoo Meat of Origin

If you enjoy red meat, South Africa’s Karoo semi-desert, with its herby little bushes, clean air and clean water, is home to some of the best mutton in the world. Like champagne, Karoo lamb’s geographic origins are now certified.

Dorper sheep in the Karoo, eyeing a cold front. Photo Chris Marais

A few years ago, a baker’s dozen international chefs came to Cape Town for a foodie extravaganza. Since our coastline is 3 000km long, most came expecting to fall in love with South African seafood.

The Karoo is a very unusual semi-desert with high biodiversity.

Now you can be assured of your lamb chops coming from this alluring semi-desert.

Instead, they fell in love with Karoo lamb.

The sheep of this semi-desert region spend most of their lives nibbling on a half-dozen fragrant little bushes. These shrubs give the meat a delicately herbed taste quite unique in the world. 

Karoo lamb and Karoo mutton are so in demand that all kinds of farmers outside the region started selling their cuts as coming from this dry zone, robbing local farmers of legitimate income.

Clearly something needed to be done.

The Karoo Development Foundation has created a Karoo Meat of Origin certification process.

Now you can be assured of your lamb chops coming from this alluring semi-desert with its wind pumps, clean air and water, and wide open spaces.

The best place to find Karoo Meat of Origin lamb and mutton are at Food Lover’s Markets, at the moment mostly in Cape Town. But keep checking the website.

Most sheep found in the Karoo are merino or dorpers. Wool is also a major agricultural product from the region. Photos by Chris Marais

Category: Food & Wine

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