In the early days of agriculture lambs were a seasonal animal – born in early spring with their meat becoming available for consumption during the warmer months. This seasonal adherence came from an agrarian past that had to closely mimic the cycles of nature in order to minimize risk and ensure food for survival. That is to say, our ancestors recognized that lambs are somewhat fragile creatures and breeding a fragile pasture animal to put on weight during the winter months was not the smartest idea. So began the idea of spring lamb. Breeding sheep in the winter for an early spring lambing season and late spring harvest.
This well-established schedule led to the perception of lamb as a seasonal delicacy primarily enjoyed during springtime celebrations, such as Easter and Passover. The availability of tender fresh lamb coinciding with major religious holidays created a powerful and lasting cultural association that is still felt to this day.
Moving Beyond The Idea of Spring Lamb
Fortunately, agriculture and animal husbandry have come a long way since the days of our predecessors. According to the US Lamb Resource Center the production of lamb in the US is relatively steady throughout the year. Even with a concentration of births in the spring – through a combination of staggering slaughter dates, flash freezing and supplemental winter births we now have a steady supply of fresh tender lamb year-round.
What was once a seasonal product is now readily available any month of the year! In fact, now, more than ever, Americans are eating lamb year-round. Without question lamb still has a place on the holiday table for special events, but it is also being enjoyed on the grill in the summer and in hearty stews through the colder months.
How We Care For Our Pasture Raised Lamb At Acabonac Farms
At Acabonac Farms we raise weaned lambs in two waves during the warmer months; an early spring flock that provides lamb through the spring and early summer, then a late summer flock of new lambs to provide tender lamb through the winter. As part of our approach to animal husbandry our lambs are raised alongside cattle – providing a mutually beneficial relationship that makes the end product (delicious and nutrient dense meat) even better! You can read more about the benefits of raising cattle and lambs together here.
And just like our grass fed cattle, pastured pork and pastured chicken, our pasture raised lambs work as part of an intricate framework that makes Acabonac Farms special. Our regenerative practices build up soil health which in turn provides our animals with nutrient rich forage in a comfortable environment that allows them to express their natural behaviors. This quality diet and serene environment is evident in the flavor and nutrition of the meat that we produce.