Archive | April, 2010

Lamb’s Big Year: Belly, Bacon, Neck, Shoulder Proliferating

23 Apr

Lamb is becoming hip — great news for small lamb producers that sell locally….

From Huffington Post

SAN FRANCISCO — There are fashions in meat, as in all things, but… Are you ready for lamb bacon?

That’s just one of the new dishes popping up on menus across the country as chefs experiment with American lamb, a trend driven partly by a concerted effort on the part of producers to shake off lamb’s dated image. Fussy crown roasts topped by tricky little frilled caps – out. “Lamb Jams,” cooking contests featuring local chefs getting their grill on – in.

“We’re definitely trying to approach a whole new generation and make lamb more approachable,” said Megan Wortman, executive director of the Denver-based American Lamb Board.

Why lamb now?

New Hampshire sheep farmer Jeff Conrad sees the trend as riding the wave of eating local. “People want to know where their food’s coming from,” he said. Conrad, who with his wife, Liz, runs Riverslea Farm near Epping, has noticed an increase in people buying lamb cuts for everyday meals, as opposed to previous years when he sold mainly whole animals to families looking to have a party.

“Ground lamb? We can’t even keep that around,” he said.

For chefs, cooking with lamb is something new, giving them a chance to stretch creatively. And if you use the lesser-known cuts – such as the neck and belly – it also can be cheaper, good for budget-stretching, said Matt Accarrino, executive chef at SPQR in San Francisco.

“I’ve been calling 2010 the year of the lamb,” he said with a laugh. “I’d rather have a lamb belly than a lamb rack. Braised and glazed, long and slow-cooked – it’s a very versatile cut. It’s much less expensive than, say, the rib chops. You see a lot of people working with lamb neck.”

Across the country, Mike Price, chef/owner of Market Table in New York City, has been selling more lamb and fewer steaks, “which I think is a good thing. I’m a big fan of lamb.”

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feathers

22 Apr

Our little Delaware chicks are really feathering out, and just four weeks old!

I offered them their first treat last night — a nice juicy leaf of lettuce — and boy, let’s say I have a new understanding for the story about Chicken Little. Absolute terror followed by absolute stillness, not one peep, as their little chicken brains assessed whether that lettuce was going to eat them or not.

I finally put a little piece in my hand with some feed crumbles on it and they eventually started picking at it a little.

Here’s the terror:

One little brave peep is checking it out — the sacrificial lamb?

Second Churro lamb

14 Apr

Another little ewe lamb from our Navajo Churro, Damita. A first time mother, but a very good one. Just 30 minutes old here and the lamb is already standing and nursing. Such strong instincts in both ewe and lamb.

Shooting flames of forsythia

14 Apr

We bought our little farm in the fall, when the pear trees were overladen with fruit, but everything else was already brown. There didn’t seem to be much beyond a sparse perimeter of pines offering some green in an otherwise large, barren and windswept yard.

Now that spring is here, little bursts of color are appearing, past evidence of some care put into landscaping. There are a number of forsythias (I think these are forsythias), that look like yellow flames shooting out of the ground, particularly in the setting sun.

In a few weekends we’re having a permaculturist out to give us some guidance on how we can turn our barren acres into an overabundance of food and lush greenery in all seasons. Orchard and nut trees, effective wind blocks and shade trees in all the right places, edible bushes lining meandering walking paths, perennial gardens, a pond and maybe even some swales down the hillside. I’m really looking forward to hearing what she has to say, and getting some help turning my vision into reality.

Chicks!

1 Apr

Our 15 little Delaware chicks arrived Wednesday. Aren’t they cute? All seem to be doing great, and they even look dressed up for Easter with those blue and green stripes on their heads!

I’m greatly amused just sitting and watching them. They fall asleep on their feet — eyes slowly close, head starts drooping, legs eventually fold. Such little babies.

cute little sleepy chick...

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