On page 40 of the April, 2010 issue of Bon Appetite magazine there is a brief article on lamb. As a sheep rancher and someone who sells all natural, grass fed, pasture raised lamb at the local farmers’ market and a couple of Cheyenne restaurants, I need to add my two cents worth about that article.
In the Lamb article the magazine writes “As for the taste, innovative farming techniques in the last 20 years have allowed farmers to raise more tender lamb ….year round, outdoors cage-free, and without using growth hormones.” Ouch!
Innovative techniques would lend one to think chemicals and additives, which is not the case. Lamb is by nature a fast growing animal, hormones are not used, in fact there isn’t any growth hormone approved for lamb. Lamb has always been raised year round and outdoors. As for “cage-free” please, this is what gets agriculture in trouble, poor journalism. Lamb is never raised in a cage, never has been and never will.
What is coming back to the market is pasture based lamb. Lamb that has been raised on grass, open range, or pasture will taste better, hands down. On a grass only diet that “lamby” favor goes away, taste and tenderness goes way up. Another and more important improvement to the dining experience is breeds of sheep that are specifically for meat verses wool breeds of sheep which will have a stronger flavor. Not all sheep are created equal, about 200 different breeds of sheep, only a few are meat breeds.
I love reading articles on how good lamb taste along with simple to cook recipes, as more younger people who have never had it before are buying it. But, please get out of the office and go visit a shepherd.
Wild Winds Sheep Company
Carpenter, WY. 82054