A tradition of great Local Lamb at Loramie

By: Jessie Kuhn | Staff Writer
On: February 17, 2016

Local veterinarian Paul Hunter started Loramie Lamb in the 1980s fully aware that he’d be an anomaly in many ways. “[Lamb is] not a mainstream commodity, like cattle and hogs,” he says of his Fort Loramie, Ohio, farm. “There’s not many sheep farmers around here, so I’m one of the few.” Lamb consumption in the United States saw steep declines over much of the 20th Century, according to the USDA. Paul attributes much of that to the fact that many people don’t grow up with lamb served at their dinner tables, which could be linked to the over-consumption of mutton, a meat derived from older sheep that’s much tougher and considered distasteful in flavor, during World War II.

It’s that very perception and lack of exposure that the sheep industry at large has been up against as passionate purveyors, like Paul, aim to increase awareness for this lesser-known red meat rich in protein. “I’m hoping that as more people get exposure, and as they get a good, quality product, it’ll grow,” he says.

Paul isn’t alone in that mission to encourage families to introduce lamb at the dinner table. Jack Gridley, VP of Meat and Seafood at Dorothy Lane Market, will often serve a leg of lamb at his family’s Easter gathering and when entertaining throughout the year for that very reason—to increase exposure among his family and friends. “I love serving it because of the flavor and the taste. And, it’s something different,” Jack says. He recommends that you ask your DLM butcher to bone and butterfly the cut. “You could even soak [it] in a garlic and herb marinade before grilling,” he says.

At Dorothy Lane Market, we offer our very own line of DLM Natural Lamb that’s antibiotic and hormone free in addition to partnering with Paul to bring local lamb into the stores. He’s proven to be a careful advocate for not just the growth of the sheep industry, but also for the health of the animals he raises and toward being a good steward of the environment. As a veterinarian, he’s able to provide the animals with proper care and he pays close attention to their overall well-being. The sheep at Loramie Lamb are born throughout the year in order to maintain a continuous supply. To accomplish this, Paul’s been careful to stagger the breeding cycles among three different breeds of sheep. What’s that mean to the consumer? Local and fresh lamb all year long. “They are harvested on a Friday and are in DLM [by] Saturday,” he says.

As for the flavor, Jack would describe local lamb as more earthy in flavor. So as you think about options for your next family gathering, don’t forget to consider lamb.

Looking to introduce Lamb as an entrée this easter? Chef Carrie has pulled together her favorite recipes.