Merino the King of Sheep
Merinos are regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep.
The Merino is one of the most historically relevant and economically influential breeds of sheep. The breed originates in southwestern Spain, during the 12th and 13th centuries. It was instrumental in the economic development of 15th and 16th century Spain, which initially held a monopoly on the trade in its wool.
The Napolonic wars virtually destroyed the Spainish Merino industry and production shifted to Germany and the United States.
Merino sheep were introduced to Vermont in 1802 and by 1837 over one million sheep were in the state. The price of wool dropped in the late 1840’s and the state could not withstand the slump, sheep-raising in Vermont collapsed.
At the end of the 18th century, the breed was further refined in New Zealand and Australia, giving rise to the modern Merino.
Benefits of Merino Wool
Merino wool is a powerhouse natural fibre. Exceptionally warm and super soft on the skin, merino is packed with a huge range of high-performance benefits to suit a whole bunch of adventures.
Not all wool is prickly, heavy and lumpy. Merino is the world’s finest wool and feels soft and lightweight, which is why it’s often used in next-to-skin clothes – like thermal baselayers, underwear and socks.
Merino wool has a natural crimp in the fibre. This crimp traps body heat in air pockets around your body, keeping you warmer for longer.
For extra warmth, you can layer a merino base layer over a merino shirt, which increases the warmth trapped around the body. It offers excellent warmth for weight, so look for merino clothing if you want to travel light.
What really sets merino apart is its breathability – it’s able to release warmth as needed to prevent overheating and to cool you down when conditions heat up.
Merino’s natural knack for regulating body temperature means you can pack fewer clothes and keep comfortable in any weather.
Merino wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture and still maintain its ability to insulate, keeping you dry, warm and cosy.
It’s also naturally moisture wicking – able to draw perspiration away from the skin so you stay dry when working up a sweat.
It’s not your perspiration that pongs but the build-up of bacteria that creates an unpleasant smell.
Unlike synthetic fibres, merino wool naturally resists bacteria and odour retention.
Because merino resists odour, bacteria and stains, you don’t need to wash it as often or as rigorously as synthetics.
Airing your merino overnight will usually freshen it for the following day. It is machine-washable, so you don’t have to worry about shrinkage or pilling.
Benefits of Lamb
Lamb meat is a great source of protein and actually contains an amino acid profile, different from other red meats. It is an excellent source of the amino acid leucine, which encourages tissue repair and regeneration.
Lamb actually contain every amino acid and has been dubbed the ultimate source of protein. This enables the maintenance and preservation of muscle mass. Cooked lamb can contain up to 26% protein!
Merino Lambs produce a lean meat conatining an abundance of Vitamins. These include Vitamin B12, which helps with brain function and blood formation, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), which helps prevent heart disease, and many others in smaller amounts.
There is also an abundance of minerals in lamb. These include iron, which is vital for the transportation of oxygen around the body, zinc, which is essential for growth and hormone formation, selenium, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, phosphorus, which is vital for body maintenance and growth, and many more!
Lamb is also known to contain many other nutrients and antioxidants. These include taurine, which holds benefits for both the heart and muscles, and creatine, which is what bodybuilders use to maintain muscle mass and growth.
Lamb also holds some anti-aging properties as it contains glutathione, which is an antioxidant that helps decrease stress and signs of aging.
The Balfour family are multi-generation farmers from Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Rodney, Emma and Sam operate a flock of Ryeland, one of the oldest sheep breeds (over 700 years) in the UK.
Often nicknamed the ‘sweet meat of Herefordshire’ the intense and authentic taste of Ryeland lamb has made it the lamb of choice for top chefs, restaurants and rare breed butchers.
Mullygarry enhances the flavour by grazing our Ryelands in meadows of sweet grasses, clovers, legumes and herbs.
They herbal diet makes them ideal for raising organic lamb, free from supplements and additives.