This week we’re launching our first ever Lambtober, a celebration of North Carolina pasture-raised lamb. Our aim is to introduce chefs, diners, and home cooks to the delicate flavor of Firsthand Foods lamb and to encourage an appreciation of this important species and its role in sustainable livestock production. Compared to beef and pork, lamb is not widely consumed in this country. Per year, Americans eat less than one pound of lamb per person compared to 107 pounds of chicken, 84 pounds of beef and 67 pounds of pork. Some say that lamb got a bad rap during WWII when American soldiers were fed canned mutton and came home to say, “Never again.” Since then, lamb production has dwindled, including here in North Carolina where the mountains used to be home to a robust sheep industry.
It’s time to let go of that history, introduce eaters to the deliciousness of local pasture-raised lamb, and support small farmers raising this amazing species. Sheep are ruminant animals and make great grazers, turning grass and forages into protein and fiber. When grazed alongside cows, they help reduce parasites and improve soil and forage diversity. “We’ve successfully developed a line of Katahdin hair sheep with Back Creek Angus that thrives in southern growing conditions and produces a larger carcass, key challenges we’ve overcome to ensure exceptional meat quality and profitability for everyone involved,” notes Jennifer Curtis, Firsthand Foods Co-CEO.
Firsthand Foods lamb is available at the following retail locations: Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Raleigh, Durham Co-Op Market in Durham, Southern Craft Butchers and Mae Farm Market in Raleigh, and Ellwood Thompson’s in Richmond, Virginia.
We’re encouraging our restaurant customers to participate in Lambtober and feature North Carolina pasture-raised lamb on their menus. Stay tuned for updates and announcements and help us show some love to area chefs supporting pasture-raised meat producers.