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The Farm

photograph by Tom Barr (www.ootlier.com)

Uradale farm covers 2000 acres of naturally challenging land with grazing available right from the hill tops down to the shores. The sheep are hefted to their own hills and forage from the heather summits down the valley sides right onto the seaweed at the tideline. The flock of 700 ewes are remarkable weather forecasters. When the wind blows they know where to go for shelter. The ewes lamb themselves without any need for intensive supervision. Lambs start appearing at the end of April and are very quick on their feet and suckling.

Uradale is home to a herd of Native Shetland cattle. Once an endangered breed with less than 30 animals in the 1980s numbers have slowly recovered from the edge of extinction. The cattle range over large areas like the sheep and like the sheep eat a very diverse diet. Most of the cattle are housed during the 5 dark months of winter and fed on grass silage. Like the sheep they are much smaller than their modern counterparts - with horns.

Uradale has been managed environmentally for biodiversity over 20 years. Numbers of breeding birds, particularly curlew, plover, snipe, oystercatchers and peewit have benefitted from the Organic activities. Many flowering herbs and orchids bring vivid colours throughout the summertime. Areas have been set aside from livestock production to allow trees to re-establish. Considerable efforts have been made to encourage a variety of habitats and species like the growing numbers of bumble bees which enjoy the crops of red clover.

Uradale farm has built up a trade for its native Shetland lamb and beef. These products were unwanted in the modern meat market and only have appeal to those who aspire to authenticity and flavour. Forgotten tastes and ancient traits are what we specialise in.

Uradale meats are among only a few to carry total traceability as well as a full nutritional analysis. We believe in telling the whole tale.

Shetland has been described as a Viking crossroads between the North Sea and the Atlantic, actually it’s a lump of rock on which persists a fairly intriguing history of 5000 years of mankind. Few other places hang on to the indigenous breeds of antiquity, perhaps we’re just fortunate.