I love a good lamb gyro perhaps as much as anyone can love any food. Ever. In the world. But I also have a soft spot for lambs. I cannot resist their particular brand of cute. So much so, in fact, they are the only livestock I have been reluctant to try my hand at raising for meat myself. I simply cannot say with any sort of confidence whatsoever that processing day would be even the least bit tolerable. And since tolerable is the best any processing day can ever be, I’ve yet to take the plunge.
Luckily, others do not harbor my biases and sheep farms are anything but scarce in most of the United States. And though the traditional holiday for lamb eating may have already passed, a good rack of lamb is a celebration in and of itself fit for any time of year.
In fact, there is an often unforeseen bonus in buying lambs after the Easter holiday has passed — especially if you’re buying a whole or half lamb — ethnic markets for lamb are strongest just before Easter and demand for a smaller carcass there drives down the size of lambs sold around that time of year. After Easter has passed lambs are often grown out longer, making for a larger end product; a bonus if you’re feeding a family of four or more as am I.
In an ideal world we’d all buy our lambs — whether we’re looking for wholes, halves, racks, legs, chops, roasts or a combination of all of the above — from the farm down the road, and we literally have a sheep farm down the road here, but not everyone is so lucky. To find fresh, local lamb you can search Local Harvest for sheep farms near you, but if that fails you can also buy lamb online. Upper Dry Creek Ranch, a family owned farm in Western Oregon, offers their lamb products on Foodzie. That’s a picture of their loin chops above.
And as long as you’re at it, don’t forget the toppings, rubs and marinades. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box, the Chipotle Pepper Jam by Uncle Berch’s Foods, also via Foodzie, is reportedly a great accompaniment.