Forget Stoptober! It’s Goatober in Dorking

PUBLISHED: 18:27 07 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:21 11 October 2016

Male billy kid goats are often seen as a waste by-product within the dairy industry

Male billy kid goats are often seen as a waste by-product within the dairy industry

Archant

Dorking usually conjures images of sprawling vines, antiques shops and the iconic Box Hill - rather than, say, goats. But its all about the kids this month, as a new foodie initiative sets out to tackle a worldwide problem. Matthew Williams speaks to food-loving, waste-hating Goatober organiser Beckie Wingrove

Christian Armstrong (The Salt Box Sandwich Co), Jon Mears (Reubens People Co), Beckie Wingrove (Wonky Parsnips) and Eric Hockey (Red Bar & Lounge)Christian Armstrong (The Salt Box Sandwich Co), Jon Mears (Reubens People Co), Beckie Wingrove (Wonky Parsnips) and Eric Hockey (Red Bar & Lounge)

First things first: what is Goatober?

Goatober is a UK-wide campaign which aims to celebrate billy goat meat, a campaign which originated in the USA six years ago. The idea for the Dorking Goatober events stemmed from a chat with Christian Armstrong of The Salt Box sandwich company, who has a strong passion for ethical, sustainable meat.

Through my blog, Wonky Parsnips, I have been learning and researching sustainable food choices, and came across the subject of kid goat earlier this year.

I’ve been wanting to initiate a local campaign that raises awareness of a topical food waste subject for a while - and so the kid goat story began.

Who is taking part?

Christian and I teamed up and approached The Cricketers, Red Bar & Lounge, The Dorking Butchery and Reuben’s People Co and they were all keen to get involved.

Why the focus on kid goat?

In a world of declining resources, food insecurity and rising food wastage, I think it’s about time we started eating more of this delicious, ethical and underestimated meat.

With a steadily increasing demand for goat’s cheese and goat’s milk within the UK, we are slowly starting to consider the fate of male billy kid goats, often seen as a waste by-product within the dairy industry, euthanized at birth or sold as meat for hunts.

Up to 40,000 young billies are killed every year, with only 1% of billy kids kept for breeding.

We’re throwing away an ethical protein source - when did you last see goat meat, let alone kid goat, on the supermarket shelf?

So what does it taste like?

It’s absolutely delicious. Adult goat, much like mutton, is generally slow cooked - to combat its reputation for being tough - and steeped in (admittedly very tasty) strong spices. However, unlike its adult counterpart, kid goat is mild and tender, with a sweet delicate flavour.

Is it possible to buy locally normally?

It’s possible to purchase kid goat that’s reared in the UK, but it’s not that easy to buy locally. Goat meat is available through your local butcher, however the majority of this is sourced from France and it is thus difficult to trace its welfare standards. In the area, there are small-scale farms that supply goat meat, such as Oakleigh Boer Goats in Leigh or Brambletigh Produce in East Sussex - however, this is generally adult goat. Think of it just like the difference between lamb and mutton.

At present, kid goat meat is difficult to source locally here in Surrey - we haven’t been able to find any local farms or smallholdings that supply it. Online, the easiest place to purchase kid meat is through Ocado, thanks to supplier Cabrito - who source British dairy billy goats that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Should we expect more themed foodie events in Dorking?

Yes! As a nation, we are becoming more and more detached from the food on our plates. My goal is to initiate similar campaigns in the future with local businesses, hoping to raise awareness of topical food waste/sustainable food related subjects.

The responsibility for the sustainability of our food supply and the condition of our farmland and farmers is very much everyone’s responsibility. I have no doubt that each and every one of us can play a part in minimising food waste to encourage a more responsible and sustainable food system.

• For more about Goatober in Dorking, visit wonkyparsnips.com

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The Dorking flock

Beckie on the Goatober team

The Salt Box Sandwich Co: a true local food supporter, Christian runs the kitchen at The Cricketers in Dorking using locally sourced and home cured meats and making a great range of pickles, chutneys and sauces.

The Dorking Butchery: a fantastic addition to the High Street, The Dorking Butchery has played a large part in my learnings about ethical, locally sourced meat. Throughout October, kid goat meat sausages and kid goat scotch eggs will be available for local residents to purchase here.

Red Bar & Lounge: as one of the most popular restaurants in Dorking, where better to get kid goat on the menu? Check out their specials menu between Friday October 14 to Friday October 21.

The Cricketers: with The Salt Box as resident chef at the pub, we’re putting kid goat on the menu for their monthly pub quiz on Wednesday October 19. They’ll also have juicy kid goat burgers.

Reuben’s People Co: a local supplier of homemade spice rubs, it is thanks to Jon that I met the majority of the contacts who are making this campaign happen! He’ll be popping his Reuben’s Rub into The Dorking Butchery sausages.

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