Our grass-fed Katahdin lamb is incredibly tender and flavorful! This is not your grandparent’s mutton! We typically butcher lambs when they are six to twelve months old, so for us, in the fall and winter time-frame. These lambs will hang at about 45 pounds. We can sell younger lambs at a smaller size earlier in the season, when customers desire a whole lamb for a celebration meal. Click on the link below to download an order form:
The Healthy Choice For Your Family
Grass-fed animals offer many health advantages over grain-fed livestock. Our sheep eat grass and grass hay year-round as the large majority of their diet. Our ewes are supplemented with whole grain during late pregnancy and early nursing to help them handle the tremendous stress load on their bodies. Our market lambs are started right away on grass and pastured throughout their growth, and receive a small percentage of rolled, whole grain in their diet to help develop their rumens, and sometimes to give them extra energy during cold winters. Grass and broadleaf plants are nature’s intended diet for ruminant animals, and they thrive when allowed to follow their instinctive desire to browse and graze.
On average, lamb is only 175 calories per 3 ounce serving, and meets the FDA definition for “lean.” Lamb is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and selenium and a good source of iron and riboflavin (nutrition facts courtesy of the American Lamb Board). Grass-feeding, compared to feedlot grain-fed, has been shown to produce an animal with higher Omega-3 fatty acids, more beta carotene (vitamin A) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA); and lower fat, cholesterol and calories (nutrition information courtesy of American Grassfed Association).
But grass-feeding livestock is also an art and a science! Not all grass-fed meat tastes good, and that comes as a surprise to many people! Animals presented with poor quality forage or imbalanced mineral content can exhibit unthrifty health, too-slow growth, lack of adequate marbling, poor flavor and toughness. This is especially true given that many people in the U.S. are farming on soils depleted from generations of poor farming practices. Good livestock producers are also good grass farmers, they test and take care of their soil, and have their forage analyzed regularly to ensure that their grazers are getting the best nutrition possible for producing quality meat. We have extraordinarily high quality graze, and additionally feed our sheep and lambs customized mineral supplements to complement the laboratory test results from our grass analysis. This ensures optimum nutrition for our animals, which in turn means optimum nutrition for your family. Not all lamb producers can say the same!
The Humane Alternative
When you buy a locally farmed animal, you are making a humane choice- these lambs will never see a concrete feedlot, won’t endure long transport, nor be processed by the hundreds in a stressful slaughterhouse environment. Instead, they’ll spend their entire lives on the farm in the pasture, and will be slaughtered humanely by a local butcher, just minutes from home. Most grocery stores can’t make the same claims about their meat! We use a local butcher who can cut and wrap your animal to your preferences. We can deliver it to a different butcher of your choice for a fee. For customers seeking Halal or Kosher practices, we can work with you to meet your needs.
The “Green” Choice
Buying local is also the most environmentally friendly way to purchase meat. Most of the lamb in the U.S. is shipped all the way from Australia! And most commercial lamb and beef is heavily grain-fed, using grain which requires significant fuel for growing, fertilizing, harvesting and being shipped cross country. Talk about a large carbon footprint! Not to mention that heavy grain diets are not ideal for ruminant health; sheep, goats and cattle are designed to eat green plants with some seed heads, not large quantities protein-dense grain that forces too-fast growth and fattening for the sake of higher profits. Sheep that are pasture-raised care for the environment the way nature intended- by fortifying the soil with manure, managing noxious weeds, and harvesting and converting the world’s most plentiful resource-cellulose- into food to nourish our families. Sheep are thrifty utilizers of graze, and often can make use of marginal land which is not tillable for row crops or other uses.
Saving You Money
Buying lamb from us is actually less expensive than buying the same set of cuts at a grocery store! The majority of lamb sold in the U.S. is an import good. Grocery stores, by necessity, mostly stock lamb that has been imported from Australia and New Zealand; and you are paying for for your meat to be shipped halfway across the globe! Even compared to large-scale locally farmed lamb, we still have the best prices. That’s because we don’t need expensive grain shipped from the Midwest to force our lambs to grow quicker. Since our sheep graze 8-9 months out of the year, they require very little “handled” feed or other overhead costs associated with feedlot environments.
Our naturally pastured animals are healthier and endure very little stress, lowering veterinary costs compared to confinement-raised animals. In the commercial lamb industry, there are several “middle men” between the grower and you: the meat packer, the distributor, the shipper, and the grocery store meat department. When you buy a lamb from us, you are going straight to the grower, and you are also paying the local butcher directly for his services. That saves you about 20% over lamb you’d buy in the grocery store. And we are betting that you’ll think it tastes better, and is healthier for your family too!
Are There Cheaper Alternatives?
You bet! You can easily find sheep and lamb available on craigslist or at auction for $100 a head. But before you jump at the chance, you might want to ask a few questions. Find out what the lamb weighs, and at what weight it’s expected to hang (different breeds have different conversion rates). An undersized lamb won’t net you much meat! Ask what the lambs were fed, and if the farmer is managing their grass with annual forage analysis, and compensating for deficiencies with organic fertilizer or mineral supplements. Lambs only live six months and grow a tremendous amount during that time; so they can suffer severe nutritional deficiencies if they are not well-managed, sacrificing the quality of the meat in taste, tenderness, and nutritional value.
Second, if you can, visit the farm and evaluate: is it clean and well-run? Are the animals healthy and well cared for? Does the farmer appear to know a lot about sheep? Sometimes people farm as a hobby and don’t mind if they lose money; in this case, you might be able to buy a nice lamb for $100. Most often, those $100 lambs are priced low for a reason- the farmer needs to get rid of them quick, out of desperation, or before they perish because they are in ill health! So buyer beware, one bad meat purchase can turn you off for a long time. It pays to be careful where you buy!