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Where To Buy A Whole Lamb


Anna Blume
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Thank you everyone for confirming suspicions and offering sound advice.

I confess that as Pontormo, I started the same exact thread on eGullet to evaluate how local responses might compare to potentially international ones. You all came through first.

This is not worth starting a new thread unless we're all thinking about lamb during the Passover/Easter season, however, something else I have been looking for is suckling lamb.

In the Italian forum of eGullet (I'm sorry. I hope this isn't like talking about your ex on a first date), we're cooking our way through Lazio during the month of April with an emphasis on Rome. Someone in the Netherlands said baby lamb is plentiful in Amsterdam and not just the object of a Roman cult. Here in the United States, no one can find it.

I did a quick google search and read one explanation for its scarcity: it's not considered profitable to slaughter lambs that young in the UK or the US when you can produce more meat with an older animal. Someone at Balducci's* tonight told me that Icelandic lamb, available now but not offered here until late in the fall at Whole Foods, is suckling, or what he calls, spring lamb.

Does anyone know if farmers's markets in the country are starting to carry it? Or know more than I do about reasons it's not in stores?

*BTW, the butcher at WF/Tenleytown laughed when I posed the question to him. "You don't know HOW many people asked me for the same exact thing today!!" Coincidence?

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Yes, I have heard very good things about that place too from another member.

However, in conversation with one of the folks who brings meat to the FRESHFARM market at Dupont Circle early this afternoon, I was told about The Lebanese Butcher. He was pretty sure that baby lamb would be available there, if not cheap.

I ALSO noticed in the back of Cooking the Roman Way, David Downie offers numerous mail-order suggestions, including one he calls a prime source for abbacchio(same thing):

JAMISON FARM

Latrobe, PA

1-800-237-5262

sukey@jamisonfarm.com

Click

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Does anybody know where I can get a lamb? Not a leg, but the whole critter, maybe 45-50lbs dressed? Preferably good quality, inexpensive and convenient to Northern Virginia, but I understand that I may have to sacrifice one of the last two.

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Zora and I seriously contemplated a special order of spring lamb (milk-fed) and spoke at length with Corey and Janet Childs of Virginia Lamb. Since federal guidelines demand that they send the animal elsewhere to be processed, the fee for slaughter was a bit too high for the amount of meat we'd get in return, but probably more worthwhile with a slightly older animal. The couple was very nice and extremely knowledgeable. I haven't tasted the meat, so maybe someone else can pipe up.

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Wow - posted and merged with a year-old thread in under five minutes. Talk about service :blink:

Virginia Lamb looks interesting, thanks. I'll probably start with the Lebanese Butcher, since I pass there twice a day. I don't know why I didn't think of them myself.

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I picked up a flyer at The Lebanese Butcher today:

The Slaughter House 241 West Shirley Ave. Warrenton, VA 20186

"The Lebanese Butcher is proud to introduce its Slaughter House to the public open every Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. Come choose from a large selection of Lambs, Goats, Cows and Calf's (sic)."

Directions

Take 66 west to exit 43! (29 South)

Drive 12 miles until you reach 29 Business Hwy.

Take 29 Business Warrenton until you pass the 4th traffic light

Make a left turn on the road that has 'Firestone Tires' building on the left side

The Lebanese Butcher Slaughter House is behind 'Firestone'

For more information feel free to contact us

(703)533-2903 or (703)241-2012

100% Halal

The butcher behind the counter told me that they are the supplier for Springfield Butcher--so this is where the lamb we ate at the picnic came from.

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New Asbury Farm ("local lamb from the meadows of Loudoun County, Virginia") Raised amongst the mini-mansions one supposes. ;)

Bill and Joan Baker

41469 Springvalley Lane

Leesburg, VA 20175

703 542-6226

info@newasburyfarm.com

Also appearing at the brand spankin' new no Bloomindale farmer's market, 1st and R NW.

They do lambs twice a year and ask 2-3 weeks notice.

re: Zora's post, I wonder if halal lamb suffersx from the same drawbacks as halal beef?

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These are? I have bought halal lamb from time to time with no complaints.

I am told by those who eat it, that halal and kosher beef tends to be dry, tough and salty, due to the slaughering process and the imperative of to get all blood out of the carcass. I repeat only what friends who eat such things have told me.

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I am told by those who eat it, that halal and kosher beef tends to be dry, tough and salty, due to the slaughering process and the imperative of to get all blood out of the carcass. I repeat only what friends who eat such things have told me.

There's a difference between kosher or halal-method of slaughtering and koshering a piece of meat before cooking. Unless I am mistaken, the slaughtering involves some specific prayers said by the shochet (or his halal equivalent) and then the animal's throat is cut and the animal is bled while the heart continues to beat.

Koshering is the salting of meat in order to draw all remaining blood out of the tissues, which is done prior to cooking. Empire kosher chickens are salted prior to sale, but I'm not sure if that is the case with other meats. The meat at the Lebanese Butcher and Halalco is not salted. After salting, kosher meat is cooked until very well done, so that no pink color remains. Also, the kosher laws decree (don't know about halal--but I think it is different) that only the front half of the animal can be eaten. This is where the toughest cuts reside, which is why most kosher meat recipes are for braised dishes--like pot roast and brisket, or pickled meat like pastrami, which is steamed for a long time, or thoroughly cooked forcemeats (meatballs, cutlets and meatloaf). Steak, oven roasts and medium-rare hamburgers are not traditionally eaten by Jews who keep kosher. The reason I believe the halal laws are different, is that the halal butcher sells leg of lamb. You would only be able to buy a lamb shoulder from a kosher butcher.

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Zora and I seriously contemplated a special order of spring lamb (milk-fed) and spoke at length with Corey and Janet Childs of Virginia Lamb. Since federal guidelines demand that they send the animal elsewhere to be processed, the fee for slaughter was a bit too high for the amount of meat we'd get in return, but probably more worthwhile with a slightly older animal.

We keep running up against the same issue as well. gubeen would like to get milk-fed spring lamb, like she grew up eating in Ohio, but most butchers here won't deal with animals that small on account of processing costs. Any leads?

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Definitely -- Lebanese Butcher -- whether you go their slaughterhouse or not. While I have never gone the whole lamb route with them, I can testify as a satisfied customer that the quality of the lamb meat is difficult to beat. And I haven't experienced any issues on account of it being Halal. You may need to call ahead to order.

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