Coastal Spring Lamb supreme winners 2016 NZ Food Awards

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Coastal Spring Lamb has been announced as the 2016 supreme winner in the 2016 NZ Food Awards, held in Auckland last night.

Reportedly frustrated with the marketing efforts of many of the bigger lamb processors, current owner Turakina farmer Richard Redmayne and his wife Suze took it into their own hands to set up a business focusing on the salty taste of their branded Coastal Spring Lamb. The resulting packaged product is sourced from 20 farms producing around 90,000 lambs a year and is sold in retailers around New Zealand and in eight markets, including the latest, China. Products are able to be sourced back to the producing farms via QR codes on the packaging.

Coastal Spring Lamb was the sole meat company amongst the 80 finalists in the 2016 NZ Food Awards and was nominated in four categories, winning two of them: Chilled/Short Shelf-Life and the NZTE Export Innovation Award, along with the Supreme Award for its lamb rack. The other categories were the MPI Primary Sector Product Sector Award and the Business Innovation Award .

The awards are organised in association with Massey University.

The Listener, Oct 2016

Friday, May 24th, 2019

by Lauraine Jacobs


In the pink

Celebrate spring with a succulent roasted lamb cut.


It’s a brisk walk from the farmhouse to the high ridge overlooking the O’Neills’ Turakina property, about 20 minutes south of Whanganui. You can see the coastline and feel the prevailing westerly wind sweeping up from the Tasman Sea. When strong winds blow, which is most of the time, salty mist rises from the ocean, drenching the pastures and turning fencing wire rusty brown.

The conditions are ideal: the lambs that graze and are “finished” on the thick plantain and clover fields produce meat that’s sweet and succulent. And like the famous Normandy pré-salé lamb (salt meadow lamb), this meat is also slightly saltier than that raised on farms further inland. At this time of the year, the first spring lambs are killed and the O’Neill family, with 10 other coastal family farms, market this much-admired meat under the banner of Coastal Spring Lamb. The concept and brand, originally proposed five years ago, have been led by the O’Neills’ neighbours, Richard and Suze Redmayne.

A fine example of farming innovation, the brand has grown successfully, and last week its sweet, light-pink meat was recognised at the annual NZ Food Awards, winning the Chilled Foods Award and the Export Innovation Award before being named supreme winner.

Available from early November to mid-March, the meat is sold in New World and Pak’nSave supermarkets and exported to several countries.

Spring lamb is best served rare to medium, so whole legs and shoulder meat do not need the long, slow cooking required by older meat. Pink juices ensure the lamb is succulent, but as with all meat cooked in the rare to medium range, it’s essential to rest it before carving and serving. One method – whether the lamb has been grilled, roasted or barbecued – is to remove the meat from the heat, then cover it lightly with foil and several thick tea towels. This retains the heat while allowing the juices to be reabsorbed.

The lamb rack, which won the award, is the simplest cut, and it’s best cooked as a whole piece before being sliced into tiny chops once the meat has been removed from the heat. Backstraps are also excellent, but must not be overcooked.

A whole spring lamb leg will feed about 10 people. Shaun Clouston of Logan Brown brines the leg for at least 24 hours before cooking. His lamb, which was roasted then finished on the barbecue, produced the juiciest, most tender pink slices of meat I have enjoyed in years.

Here’s his recipe for a brine for lamb. When you submerge meat in brine, some of the tasty salty liquid is absorbed, which results in more tender, juicy meat. I like to roast or grill lamb on a charcoal barbecue with a tight-fitting lid, as this adds an aromatic smoky flavour.



Brined Spiced Leg of Lamb



3 tbsp flaky sea salt

2 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp allspice berries

2 bay leaves

a head of garlic, halved crosswise

1.5 litres water


1 leg of spring lamb

1 tsp flaky sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped


To make the brine, combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to rolling boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and allow the brine to cool completely.

Place the leg of lamb in a large container and pour over the brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 48 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the lamb from the brine and rub with the salt, pepper, oil and rosemary leaves. Place on a rack in a roasting pan, then roast for about 45 minutes to an hour. Rest, wrapped in foil, for at least 15 minutes before carving into neat slices.

Serve with spring vegetables, such as baby carrots, baby potatoes, asparagus, sugar snaps and fresh garden leaves and mint.

Serves 10.

Wine match: new season’s sauvignon blanc.

Bite Magazine, Oct 2016

Friday, May 24th, 2019

by Kathy Paterson


good farming stock

Take it from one who knows, a leg of lamb can go a long, long way


Jonathan Bloom, journalist and author writes in his book, American Wasteland, about the “return to thrift”. He discusses a comment made by Katy, a Portland, Oregon resident, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”. In Katy’s life, this has meant less clutter and most importantly, less food waste.

My contribution to achieving less wasted food is to pass on the knowledge I gained growing up on a farm. How to use every bit of a roast leg of spring lamb. I have used Coastal Spring Lamb coming off farms from the North Island’s west and east coast. Natural sea salt (driven by sea breezes), covering grazing pastures and clever crop planting to finish the lambs quickly, give these lambs their standout quality and flavour. Coastal Spring Lamb is the New Zealand Food Awards 2016 Supreme Winner and is available at selected New World supermarkets and meat retailers, or buy online



Roast Coastal Spring leg of lamb


Roast Coastal Spring leg of lamb


Serves 6

2kg leg Coastal Spring Lamb, at room temperature

1 Tbsp olive oil 2-3 sprigs oregano


Heat the oven to 200C. Place the leg of lamb in a roasting dish. Drizzle with the oil and season with freshly ground black pepper. Scatter around the oregano sprigs.

Place in the oven and roast for 1 ½ hours. If you prefer lamb that is slightly pink, then reduce cooking time by 10-15 minutes.

Remove lamb from the oven, sprinkle with a little salt, cover with foil and a clean tea towel. Leave to rest in a warm place. You can cook the vegetables (opposite) once the lamb has been removed from the oven.

To serve, slice lamb across the grain into thick or thin slices and serve with the roast potatoes, mushrooms and their sauce and the grilled asparagus.


Roast potatoes

For even better roast potatoes, blanch in lightly salted boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and dry off over the heat before placing in the hot roasting dish.

Serves 6

18 small potatoes, skins scrubbed

25g butter

2 Tbsp olive oil


Heat the oven to 200C. Melt the butter and oil in a roasting dish, then drop in the potatoes. Shake the dish well to coat potatoes in the fat. Season with salt. Place in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until golden, crisp on the outside and tender inside.


Mushrooms in paper

Serves 6

500g mushrooms (mixed varietals are great here), wiped clean with damp kitchen paper if needed

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ cup cream

2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped

2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves


Line a shallow baking tray with baking paper leaving enough overhang to make a parcel. Trim the mushroom stalks and place in the fridge to add to your lamb stock. Place the mushrooms on the paper-lined tray and drizzle over the oil and cream. Scatter over the garlic and parsley and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold over the excess baking paper and crimp edges closed as tight as you can. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.



Serves 6

2 bunches fat, juicy asparagus

1-2 Tbsp olive oil


Heat a chargrill until hot. Untie the asparagus spears from their bundle and trim the tough stalk from the base only. Blanch asparagus in lightly salted boiling water, about 1 minute. Drain and pat dry with kitchen being careful not to snap the spears. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on the hot grill and grill until dark grill lines appear and the spears are just tender. Use the point of a small sharp knife to test. Remove from the chargrill and place on a warmed platter with the roast potatoes and mushrooms.



Coastal Spring Lamb

The seasons still have their say when it comes to lamb meat and recently local farmers, supermarket people and food writers were invited to Annbank, Turakina, just outside Whanganui to celebrate the launch of the 2016 spring lamb season.

Annbank is one of the Coastal Spring Lambs farms which is a collaboration between farmers on the west and east coasts of the lower North Island that sees them working together to plan and talk about the lambs they will have and when they will be ready to slaughter. You only have to taste the meat to notice the contribution of the pasture. Lambs fatten quickly on the naturally salted pastures of ryegrass, clover and plantain.

Shaun Clouston from Logan Brown and Scott Kennedy from Nero Restaurant (both Beef and Lamb Ambassador Chefs), were on hand to demonstrate ideas for cooking this succulent, tender lamb.

Shaun “added value” to a Coastal Spring Lamb leg by brining the meat in a mixture of salt, sugar, pomegranate molasses, fennel seeds, peppercorns, allspice, bay leaves, garlic and water overnight or for up to 48 hours before cooking.

Scott treated us to a slow roasted Coastal Spring Lamb shoulder served with an inspired Rajasthani tomato, mustard and garlic chutney.

As I have come to expect from farmers, the hospitality was generous and warm and we had a wonderfully enjoyable day.

Bite Magazine, Jan 2015

Friday, May 24th, 2019

by Kathy Paterson


Best of Intentions


Make it part of the New Year routine to eat well by making the most of seasonal produce.


Shortloin of lamb with roasted eggplant and green bean, radish and cherry tomato salad

I came across the Coastal Spring Lamb brand when shopping in my local New World. They were having an in-store tasting and I simply had to try. The lamb was so delicious I bought some and immediately went home to make this recipe. Coastal Spring Lamb produce some of the first spring lambs born in the country each year. The season for this lamb is now coming to an end, but grab some now while it is still available and be the first in to buy some in spring 2015. Gourmet cuts are available to buy on their website,



Shortloin of lamb with roasted eggplant and green bean, radish and cherry tomato salad


Serves 4

Green bean, radish and cherry tomato salad

350-400g green beans, trimmed

4 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

2 Tbsp fresh coriander leaves

2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 Tbsp preserved lemon, very finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

250g cherry tomatoes, left whole or cut in half


1 large eggplant

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

200g ricotta

2-3 lamb shortloin (also referred to as lamb backstrap), I used Coastal Spring Lamb, at room temperature


  1. Steam the green beans (or cooked in lightly salted boiling water), until bite-tender. Drain and flash under the cold tap to stop the cooking process. Lay out on to kitchen paper to drain.
  2. Place all remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl, grind over some black pepper and toss gently to combine. Cover and set aside.
  3. Heat the oven to 200C. Line a shallow roasting dish with baking paper.
  4. Cut the eggplant into about 2cm cubes and place in the roasting dish. Drizzle with oil and toss well to coat eggplant. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and a little salt. Place in the oven and roast until soft and beginning to crisp around the edges, about 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan (or use barbecue grill), over a medium heat. Rub a dash of oil over lamb and place in frying pan. Cook for 3 minutes then turn over and cook a further 2 minutes for medium-rare lamb. Transfer lamb to a plate, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cover loosely with foil and a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. To serve, toss green beans through the salad and place on a large serving platter. Slice the lamb, across the grain for tenderness, and arrange on top. Crumble ricotta through the roasted eggplant and scatter on top. Optional to taste, drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and a couple of squeezes of lemon juice.

KiaOra Magazine, Oct 2014

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Published in KiaOra Magazine – October 2014




A group of intergenerational family farms on the North Island’s east and west coasts are bringing a new approach to meat marketing, making seasonal lamb available to Kiwi consumers.


Taking pleasure in different seasonal produce is a big part of enjoying food. People often look forward to new potatoes, asparagus in season, or the arrival of the year’s first plump Bluff oysters. Now, a farmer from Turakina, southeast of Whanganui, is leading a drive to bring back an appreciation of seasonality as it relates to one of New Zealand’s best-known food products – lamb.

Historically, butchers around the country sourced early spring lamb, making a fuss over its arrival in their shop-window displays. Many of their customers looked forward to the seasonal arrival of young, tender, more subtly-flavoured lamb after a winter of dining on older lamb from the previous season. Yet, over the decades, the tradition was largely lost, with the meat industry focusing on a standardised year-round supply and almost all early-season lamb being sent to northern hemisphere markets in time to meet demand over Christmas.

Enter that Turakina farmer, Richard Redmayne, who saw an opportunity a few years ago to again offer New Zealanders the young, seasonal lamb they used to enjoy. His concept led to the formation of Coastal Spring Lamb, a collaboration involving lamb from his family property ‘Tunnel Hill’ and a select group of other North Island farms. Several of the properties involved are in warm, coastal sand country, which means they can lamb early, from mid-June to mid-July.

Importantly, Redmayne made an early approach to Foodstuffs, the group behind New World and PAKnSAVE supermarkets.


“As a group of farmers, it’s extremely exciting to be given feedback about your product directly from the consumer. When it’s sold as generic lamb, you don’t get feedback.”


“We had the discussion around why spring lamb was celebrated around the world and used to be celebrated in New Zealand, but no longer was,” he recalls. Foodstuffs saw the idea’s potential and, in 2010, test marketing of Coastal Spring Lamb began in selected New World supermarkets in the lower North Island. It has since also been made available in selected Auckland supermarkets and last year was trialled in the South Island, being distributed to 10 supermarkets. The customer response was so positive that it will be made available South Island-wide to all New World, PAKnSAVE, Four Square and Raeward Fresh stores this year. In 2013 the Coastal Spring Lamb farms supplied around 14,000 spring lambs. This is set to more than double in the 2014 season.

“The two key words that give a feel of what we’re doing are ‘seasonality’ and ‘provenance’,” says Redmayne. The spring lamb is only available from mid-October until the end of January. “You can liken it to whitebait or Bluff oysters,” he says. “There’s probably no better way to celebrate spring than with new season’s spring lamb.” The first of the brand’s product is only four months old, while other lamb available at that time will be from the previous season and could be anything up to 12 months old.

In talking about provenance, Coastal Spring Lamb want customers to be able to make the direct link between the farms and the farming families who produce the lamb and the packaged product in the supermarket. “As a group of farmers, it’s extremely exciting to be given feedback about your product directly from the consumer. When it’s sold as generic lamb, you don’t get feedback, in fact you can’t.”

Most of the families involved have been on their properties for a century or more and have a long-standing commitment to producing top-quality lamb, notes Redmayne. On the east coast the families are the Sorensens, McKays, McIlraiths, Kights, Hansens and Lowrys and on the west coast, the Redmaynes, O’Neills, McKelvies and Brewers.

While declining sheep numbers in recent years reflect the move some sheep farmers have made to dairy, the Coastal Spring Lamb families are committed to the business in which they have proven expertise. “The group of families we’ve got together to work with are very passionate about sheep and very competent at what they do.”

The recent exclusive supply agreement with Foodstuffs breaks new ground in the retail meat area. It gives Coastal Spring Lamb guaranteed access to a huge market of shoppers. “From a business perspective that’s probably the unique thing that we’ve achieved, a small group of New Zealand farming families working directly with a 100% New Zealand owned and operated supermarket group,” says Redmayne.

He recently attended a Foodstuffs’ Fresh Foods Expo in Wellington at which he had the opportunity to showcase his Coastal Spring Lamb to owner operators and butchery managers from throughout New Zealand. “There’s still a lot of potential for growth,” he says. That includes the prospect of growing sales nationally through more of Foodstuffs’ network. Production can be increased on Coastal Spring Lamb’s existing farms, and by inviting additional farming families to become involved.

Foodstuffs South Island butchery operations manager Steve Alexander says a concept that began with Richard’s “passionate presentation about Coastal Spring Lamb”, has clearly been embraced by customers. “The pilot that we ran last year in the South Island was overwhelming in terms of the feedback from our consumers.”

Alexander recalls the spring-lamb seasonal celebration being a big thing when he began in the industry in Southland over two decades ago. “There’s a definite heritage about it and over time, we’ve kind of forgotten about it.” Now that Coastal Spring Lamb is available in South Island Foodstuffs’ stores, he sees the seasonal revival in butchery quickly gaining momentum. “No question. The partnership we’ve got is long term. We see it getting better and better, year by year. It truly is stunning product”.


Farm to market

Farmers Richard and Suze Redmayne get to hear directly from consumers of Coastal Spring Lamb during frequent in-store promotions.

The couple have visited dozens of supermarkets over the last few years, cooking lamb back straps and slicing up tasty morsels for passing shoppers. “That’s a fantastic chance to get feedback,” Richard says. The effect on sales is often instant – “once customers try it, they tend to buy it” – and the visits are also an opportunity for the producers to talk to the supermarket butchers about the product and how the market is responding to it. “It’s been a great way to build a relationship with both the butchers and our customers.”

In addition to supplying supermarkets, Coastal Spring Lamb also goes out to a selection of leading restaurants through two Food Service companies – Neat Meat and Chef’s Choice. Scott Kennedy’s Nero in Palmerston North, Josh Emett’s Rata in Queenstown, Darren Wright’s Chillingworth Road in Christchurch, a handful of Auckland’s top eateries and Logan Brown in Wellington all feature Coastal Spring Lamb on their menus.

This will be the fourth season during which Coastal Spring Lamb has featured on the Logan Brown menu. The celebrated restaurant’s head chef and co-owner Shaun Clouston says that, as with scallops or whitebait, there’s a sense of excitement when the new season lamb arrives. “It’s something I really look forward to,” he says. The younger lamb is leaner, has a lighter colour and flavour and is enjoyed by diners who don’t normally like strongly-flavored lamb. “I think it’s a pretty special product.”

Clouston says he likes seeing sheep farmers coming into his restaurant and being won over by the young lamb. “They go, ‘oh my god that lamb’s amazing’, and these guys have obviously had a fair amount of lamb in their time.”

BNZ agribusiness specialist Rob Gemmell says the bank was excited to get behind Richard Redmayne’s vision for Coastal Spring Lamb. “This is a great example of innovating to add value in the agri sector,” he says. “Richard had a clear idea about the opportunity and how to approach it. Helping our customers capture greater benefits from the value chain is one of our key focuses. We are delighted to offer our support.”