The “snow lambs” were a hardy bunch and grew well on this summer’s bountiful pastures. We had a butchering of ram lambs in September and will have another in mid-November. Ewe lambs that aren’t being saved for replacement stock will likely be butchered in March and May.
Because the requests for both Pine Knob beef and lamb have been growing faster than expansion of the beef herd and the ewe flock–in recovery from the heavy culling that was necessary with the drought of 2012–we’ve been not able to fully meet demand this year. We did not take on any new beef customers; we did not sell beef retail; and even returning customers who wanted more only got 1/4s. In 2015, we ought to be able to meet the needs of current beef customers and in 2016, we should have beef for a few more.
The 2014 lamb crop should be sufficient to meet the needs of current customers and a few new ones. We have, with regrets, quit offering our lamb through the Viroqua Food Coop. Customers who have been used to purchasing lamb through the coop should feel welcome to contact us to see if we have the cuts they need. I deliver to Viroqua on Fridays.
I am nothing short of thrilled that our lamb is regularly on the menu of the Driftless Cafe in Viroqua. Owner Luke Zahm is a delight to work with; I’ve never before imagined feeling so appreciated as a farmer! And the ways he and his crew prepare my lamb are so fantastic that they have me going in there, looking for lamb on the menu! Bless you, Driftless Cafe, for you are truly a boon to the Driftless region.
So, let me know if you want lamb, and we’ll see if we can meet your needs. Beef, too. Although, at this point I can’t promise much more for 2015, I am on the lookout for beef feeders that meet my specifications, and will do the best I can to meet my customers’ needs for good grassfed beef.