This time of year, you start to see a lot of “spring lamb.”
Traditionally, this moniker referred to lambs that were born in late fall, were milk and silage-fed during the winter, and slaughtered in the early spring. Their meat would be extremely tender and mild in flavor. When you see the commercial markets promoting spring lamb, however, it’s not exactly as it once was. The industry has extended the lambing season through summer into fall and winter. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does have an impact on the disposition and quality of the meat.
If we say “spring lamb,” rest assured that it is. As with all the meats we process and stock, we work with only the best and most responsible sheep farmers. When you buy lamb from the Vermont Butcher Shop, it most likely comes from Phil and Lisa Webster’s North Star Farm. The Webster’s run the state of Maine's longest operating sustainable sheep farm on 225 beautiful acres in Windham. The pasture-raised, all-natural lamb that they produce is award-winning and a favorite of chefs throughout New England.
Seasonality aside, we love lamb. America, per capita, doesn’t have the appetite for it as other countries do. The American Sheep Industry reported in 2010 that we produce 163 million pounds of lamb and mutton. That’s 14 ounces of lamb per person. In comparison, the U.S. produces over 26 billion pounds of beef every year and Americans eat about 193 pounds of beef, chicken, and pork annually.
If you’re new to lamb, or you’ve never cooked it at home, we’re here to introduce you. Lamb has a wonderful flavor profile and all the animal is extremely versatile. It can be roasted, seared, or grilled with almost any cut. Given its 100% grass-fed diet, it’s higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12, and protein than beef, and relatively low in cholesterol. Studies show it’s known to reduce cardiovascular health risks.
The other plus about grass-fed, pasture-raised lamb… it’s one of the most sustainable, most humane choices. Given the average life span of 8 months many of those of which they are milk fed, the amount of grass, feed, and space required to raise a lamb is relatively low impact. They easily adapt to a rotating pasture system which allows for higher nutritional value in the grass they eat as well as more natural living conditions. In relation to nutritional value, time, space and feed required lamb is one of the most easily produced proteins available.
So, now it’s your turn. Come stop by one of our shops and bring home something, anything. Be a part of the change; taste the amazing, buttery, and genuinely irresistible meat and I promise you’ll be hooked. We want everyone to eat meat that is good for the environment, sustainable for agriculture and most importantly YOU! Plus, there’s always room for adventure.