"Subscribe & Save" program coming soon. Watch for details!

Grass Fed Lamb: Not Just For Easter

written by

Sue King

posted on

March 29, 2019

One of the animals that we really enjoy raising on our farm are sheep. Not only do they provide us with a whole lot of entertainment, they also provide a super healthy meat. 

Like all the other animals on the farm there are different seasons in the life for our sheep. Way back in late December the rams (males) and ewes (females) that have been living in separate pastures all summer and fall are brought together for the breeding season. Breeding season on our farm is timed so that the resulting lambs will be born when the weather has warmed up and the new grass is starting to grow, just like the deer and elk. 

By “lambing” at this time of year the newborns get a good start in life. They do not have to fight the cold weather of winter. The fresh new grass helps their mother’s milk to be nutritious and abundant. I told you that they are entertaining. Well, when the lambs are little you will see a whole group of them jumping in the air, kicking up their heels and running for all their worth around the pasture before heading back to mom for a little sip of milk. 

When the lambs are about a week old and have bonded well with their mothers, the little families are moved from the maternity pasture to the summer grazing pastures. Once here the flock is moved through the pastures to fresh grass every week. By moving them weekly we ensure that the ewes and lambs are getting the best nutrition for optimum health. 

Come early fall the lambs are weaned from their mothers and moved to their own pastures where they will continue to graze until the snow gets too deep. Once winter really sets in we will switch their diet to hay that we have made earlier in the year. They will stay on this feed until they are ready for processing for the freezer. 

When I was thinking about what these next few blog posts would include I came across some interesting history. 

Sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated, probably in the Middle East. As the population moved away from the Fertile Crescent spreading throughout Europe they took their sheep with them. It is believed that the Romans introduced sheep into Great Britain. In the early 16th century the Spanish explorers are thought to have brought sheep to the New World. 

Sheep have been raised for both their fiber and meat. Wool was used for clothing and housing structures. Yurts are a classic example of wool being used for structures. It has and is being used as a natural insulating material in buildings. Sheep that originate in more equatorial countries tend to have hair that sheds like a dog or cat instead of wool that the shepherd needs to shear off. 


In many countries lamb is the traditional Passover and Easter meal. 

Unlike North America many countries including Turkey, Greece, New Zealand, Australia, Africa and the Middle East consider lamb their staple meat. 

Unfortunately, much of the lamb that is available in North America is imported from Australia and New Zealand. This does not make a lot of sense because there are many small producers right here in Canada that raise excellent quality lamb. 

On our farm we raise hair sheep. They are very resilient to the extreme fluctuations in weather that we experience in northern Alberta. They are very disease and parasite resistant, which can be a problem for many breeds of sheep. This means that we do not have to use antibiotics simply because it is extremely rare for our sheep to be sick. We also do not have to use synthetic parasite controls.  These traits allow us to raise sheep in the most natural way possible. From many years of experience we find that they thrive for us. 

Many of our customers who are accustomed to eating lamb tell us that the meat from the hair sheep far exceeds that from the wool breeds in taste. 

We invite you to join us as we explore how to shop for and prepare lamb that your family will love. All you have to do is click on the sign up button below to receive the next article in this series. We look forward to sharing our knowledge of this with you.

More from the blog

Making a Difference: Exploring Grassfed/Grass Finished Beef

 Approximately thirty years ago many ranchers realized the adverse health effects that CAFOs were creating in their animals and the people who consumed the meat.  So instead of sending them away to a CAFO, they started keeping them on pasture until it was time to process them for food.  When animals are raised on pasture the animals grow at a natural pace, consuming only foods that were designed for their bodies.  This low-stress life came with the added benefit of virtually eliminating the use of antibiotics and many other routinely used drugs.  Pasture-based farming allows the animals to express their naturally design characteristics while being naturally healthy.  This means that the people who consume the meat benefit from the animal's health.  How can a sickly animal help us to stay healthy?  We don’t believe that it can.    There have been numerous studies done that compared CAFO meat to grass-fed and grass-finished meat.  They all found that the meat from grass-fed and grass-finished beef, lamb, bison and goats has less total fat including saturated fat, cholesterol and calories.  It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid.  Raising animals on pasture for meat also requires more intimate knowledge of your animal' needs than sending them away when they are weaned from their mothers.  Pastures must be managed so that the plants are always at their optimal growth stage.  This provides nutrient-dense forage.  The attention to pasture management details results in succulent and tender meat for you and our family. Well-stewarded animals raised on high-quality pasture provide the opportunity for us to consume the healthiest meat possible without being concerned about what they were fed and how they have been treated.  In 1998 we made the switch from raising our animals conventionally to raising them following organic principles.  In the coming weeks, we will explore the differences in more detail.  Plus I will have some tried and tested recipes you will be sure to love. If you have been searching for locally raised and processed grass-fed and grass-finished meat raised by caring farmers whom you can talk to in person, you have come to the right place.  Every day our family puts great effort into ensuring our animals are well taken care of.   It is simple to order our grass-fed/grass-finished beef and lamb or pasture-raised pork.   Visit our online store where you can browse our large selection of farm-raised products.  When you are ready to order create your very own personal account, fill your cart, and select your preferred pickup location.  We will notify you when your order is ready to pick up.  It is that easy.  What are you waiting for? To help you get started successfully cooking with our grass-fed, pasture-raised meat you can download our 6 SUPER SIMPLE COOKING METHODS TO ACHIEVE PERFECTION EVERY TIME FROM YOUR PASTURE-RAISED MEATS booklet absolutely free. It is a great resource that you will turn to time-after-time. I know I sure do!

Are you Absolutely Satisfied with Store-Bought Pork?

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY PORK DISHES ALWAYS HAVE SO MANY SWEET SAUCES ON THEM? For many years this question never crossed my mind. Until we started raising and eating our own pasture-raised pork. But what lead us to start raising pigs?  Neither Larry nor I had much experience with pigs growing up. We started our married life buying all our pork in the grocery store, but then switched to sourcing it from a neighboring conventional pork producer. We were not aware that most of the pork that is available in the grocery stores comes from pigs that have never seen the light of day. They spend their whole life crowded into huge hog barns. They are fed an industry standard diet of grain with no green, living food at all. They are crowded into small spaces with many other pigs where their natural ability to move is restricted. Much to our surprise and horror, we discovered that the neighbor we were purchasing our pork from was raising them no differently than what we could get in the store. At that time, little did we know that eventually Larry would face a digestive issue from this type of pork. After certain meals he would feel sick to the stomach and end up with diarrhea. It got so bad before we clued into the cause. When we quit eating pork these issues went away. Now we had a dilemma. We really like pork but couldn’t eat it anymore. Being the DIY homesteaders we were back in those days we decided to buy a couple little pigs and raise them ourselves. We knew that we didn’t want to raise them in a barn. So outside they went. These were the happiest pigs I ever saw. They were free to roam around their pasture, rooting in the soil and wallowing in the mud while searching for whatever they thought was tasty to eat. We fed them grains from a neighbor, kitchen scraps and milk from our milk cow. When they were big enough to harvest, we sent them to the processor, not knowing if we would even be able to eat this pork. Much to our delight Larry had no adverse reaction to the meat. It was delicious! The meat was firm, not mushy like barn raised pork. It also had a richness to it that we had never experienced before.  No more bland and flavorless conventional pork for us.  No sauces required! We thought that we couldn’t be the only people who had experienced something similar and wished for a pleasurable eating experience. This success started us on a new farming adventure, raising pastured pork for sale. Encouraged by the success we had with our first pigs we decided to purchase our breeding herd. We have tried many breeds of pigs over the years and have settled on the Berkshire breed. They are a heritage pig that matures slower thus producing an excellent quality meat and the best lard fat that I think you can get. I have heard it said that Berkshire pork is the gold standard of pork among chefs. Besides that, they are very personable and entertaining to have around!  And mischievous. I truly believe from our personal experience that all animals that we raise for food need to be able to live in conditions that are natural for them and have the ability to express their God-given characteristics. When we domesticated animals, we became responsible to steward them well. We strive to do just this with all our animals. One of my favorite cuts of pork is the Boston Butt Roast.  It is juicy, tender, melt-in-your mouth meat. This is the cut that pulled-pork is made from. It is an economical cut that we also use to make ground pork and our special gluten-free, nitrate-free sausages. When you purchase our pasture-raised pork you will experience what real pork should taste like. We offer a variety of options when it comes to purchasing our pasture-raised pork.   Individual cuts to suit your needs. Pork Chops, Traditional salt-cured and smoked ham and bacon, Whole Tenderloin, Boston Butt Roasts, Ground Pork, Breakfast Sausages (Nitrate-free, Sugar-free and Filler-free). Coming soon!  Our "1/4 Pork Bundle."  Our newest addition to our pastured-pork line-up.  This bundle is perfect for a smaller family or if you have limited freezer space.  It will consist of a variety of the individual cuts, including Pork Chops, Pork Sirloin Steak, Ham Steak, Bacon, Ground Pork and Sausage. And, last but not least if you want to customize the cuts you receive, we have whole hogs available.   You can find all of these options in our online store. Do you want to try my simple Boston Butt Roast recipe? It’s so simple. I place the roast on a rack in my cast-iron dutch-oven. Add a little water. Sprinkle chopped onions on top (I used my home-grown dehydrated onions) salt and pepper. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 160F. I slice it and serve with apple sauce, oven roasted potatoes and a veggie.  You can purchase our pasture-raised pork from our online store or from us at the Grande Prairie Farmers Market on Fridays or Saturdays.