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Scarborough Local Food Group - link to home page

Scarborough Shearling
A Community Supported Agriculture Partnership

A group of ten farmers, who run traditional flocks of Swaledale sheep on the North Yorkshire Moors is producing excellent shearling meat, yet it is difficult to obtain it in Scarborough. So that people in the town can readily enjoy this local delicacy, we have set up a Shearling Community Supported Agriculture Partnership. This is explained below.

Scarborough Shearling on the North Yorkshire Moors

If you join the Scarborough Shearling Partnership; you will

What is Community Supported Agriculture?

Community Supported Agriculture can be described as a relationship of mutual support between farmers and those who eat the food they produce. CSA schemes provide farmers and growers with a secure income and connect people with their food. CSAs provide access to high quality produce that people can trust, knowing that the animals they eat are humanely reared and slaughtered.

Each season members of the CSA commit to buy a certain amount of produce directly from the farmer. By paying for the produce in advance, members provide the farmer with a guaranteed market, enabling them to plan better and concentrate on farming. By paying the farmer directly distribution and packaging costs are kept to a minimum and the members know exactly who is producing the food they eat, and how. Members also benefit from the knowledge that they are contributing to a sustainable form of farming, which is vital if we are to feed ourselves in future.

How the Scarborough Shearling CSA works

Each member buys one or more shares, equivalent to a whole shearling. Half shares are also available.

Each month, October to May, a shearling is divided amongst the eight members. Over the course of eight months each member will receive the full range of cuts of meat; for instance, one month it might be a leg of lamb, another month, mince and chops.

On a designated day each month members collect their meat, conveniently butchered and vacuum packed, from a central Scarborough location.

Members are be invited to take part in a farm visit and to attend a "Shearling Supper". Other events will be arranged according to demand.

What does it cost?

One share, consisting of a shearling (approximately 44 lb (20 kilos) of on-the-bone-meat), delivered over eight months costs £160. Payment can be made as a one-off advance payment or by monthly standing order (£20 per month). The meat (approximatey 5lb (2.5 kilos) per month) will be butchered and delivered in convenient vacuum-packed portions. The meat can be frozen for up to 12 months.

There is also a £2.00 membership fee, payable in cash at the first collection.

Why it matters?


Shearling meat is a fine local delicacy. A shearling is a whether (a castrated male) sheep, between 17 and 22 months of age, which is neither lamb nor mutton. Nearly two years of slow growth and living free on the varied plants of the North Yorkshire Moors (including bog myrtle, bilberries and moorland grasses) gives this meat its distinctive flavour, which is very different to that of ordinary grass-fed animals. Locally slaughtered and hung, the fine marbling of fat in moorland shearlings makes superb-tasting meals.


Joining the Scarborough Shearling CSA is the easiest way to obtain this fine food. You won't find shearling meat in a supermarket, and it is only occasionally stocked by a few butchers.

Contribute to the beauty of our landscape:

By making a commitment to purchase a shearling in advance, we will be helping to maintain the the Swaledale breed of sheep and the characteristic landscape of the North Yorkshire Moors by supporting traditional sheep-farming.

Animal welfare:

The sheep roam freely on open heather moorland and are visited daily by their farmer or shepherd. The shearling are finished with a short spell on prime pasture and taken as directly as possible to slaughter Danby. The meat is hung and packed by the Camphill Community at Botton Village.

Eat sustainably:

Sheep grazing on the heather and plants of the moorland is a very efficient way to produce nutritious food from land which is unsuitable for growing any other crops. Food miles are kept to a minimum because the sheep are born and slaughtered on the moors.

Learn new skills:

Over the months, we will be able to learn about new cuts of meat and new ways of cooking them.

If you think you would like to join the partnership, please email shearlingCSA@gmail.com or phone 07914 725 921


Please pass on information about this project to friends and relatives who you think might be interested. Download an A4 flyer about the Scarborough Shearling Partnership (119 KB PDF file)



If you think you would like to join the partnership, please email shearlingCSA@gmail.com or phone 07914 725 921

Scarborough Shearling CSA Partnership, Inaugural Meeting
Wednesday evening 14th October 2009
At this well-attended meeting, we adopted our constitution, appointed officers and agreed a monthly delivery schedule for the meat.

Scarborough Shearling CSA Partnership, AGM 2010
was held on Tuesday 7th September 2010

Scarborough Shearling CSA Partnership, AGM 2011
will be held on Saturday 1st October 2011

Buy local – improve animal welfare

Animals reared and slaughtered locally will not have travelled long distances in lorries. This is kinder to them.

Buy local – spend less on packaging

The average British household spends £470 per year on packaging -- almost a sixth of food expenditure. Fresh local foods require less packaging, processing and refrigeration. Buy local and spend your money on food rather than packaging.

Buy local – save money

Price comparison studies during the last year have shown that supermarkets are up to 52% more expensive than local independent shops for fresh ingredients, such as meat, delicatessen items and fruit and vegetables.

Buy local – reduce CO2 emissions

Transport of food by air causes the highest CO2 emissions per tonne. Its use more than doubled between 1992 and 2002.

Buy local – support local farms

Farmers' incomes have fallen by over 60% between 1995 and 1999, and the number of farms has fallen from 233,000 to 168,000 in the last ten years. Buy local and support your local farms.