Freezer Lamb

The 2017 lamb harvest has begun! Our supply will be smaller this year than in 2016, so it’s a good idea to reserve your whole or half lamb as early as possible. Please get in touch soon, by sending us a note from our Contact Us page.

About Lamb

We would like to keep every lamb that is born on the farm, but unfortunately our flock can only grow so big. The sheep which cannot be kept each year are harvested humanely for lean, healthy, grass-fed lamb meat.

If you are new to eating lamb, please understand that the word “lamb” is defined as the meat from any sheep less than one year old (meat from older sheep is called “mutton”). We do not sell little baby lambs — all market lambs must be fully mature. Sheep reach sexual maturity at about four months of age. We harvest at approximately 10-11 months, after each lamb reaches our target weight of 110 pounds.

Lambs and ewes grazing on pasture

Lambs and ewes grazing on a sunny day.

We make sure that all sheep bound for the market are raised with as much care as we devote to those that stay on the farm. We never feed antibiotics or growth hormones.  During the grazing season, we do not feed grain to our lambs. The consumption of grain impairs a sheep’s ability to digest and absorb the micro-nutrients in green forages that give the meat its richness of flavor.

One of our lamb customers compared the complexity of flavors in grass-fed lamb to a good cup of coffee.  Many of us have become used to eating factory-farmed, grain-fed meats that have a bland uniformity of flavor.  Locally produced, grass-fed meats are a completely unique culinary experience.

Grass-fed lamb has been shown to give you significant nutritional benefits over other meats. It contains more Omega-3 fatty acids, B6, B12, and folate, plus heart-healthy Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), selenium and zinc than all other meats. Moreover, 40% of the fat in grass-fed lamb has been found to be mono-unsaturated fat – the same good fat as in olive oil. Grass-fed lamb is a lean protein source. It’s about the healthiest meat you can choose. For more on the nutritional advantages of lamb, please visit this page on the world’s healthiest foods from the non-profit George Mateljan Foundation.

Our Processor

Frozen lamb cuts processed by Black Earth Meats

The top priorities for us when choosing a processor are that the animals are handled humanely and with respect, and that the butcher provides excellent customer service. We use The Butcher Shop in Fennimore, Wisconsin, a state-inspected facility. We’ve been very happy with the service of Josh and his staff. We think you’ll be happy with their work too.

During processing, your whole or half lamb is cut and wrapped in butcher paper. Vacuum-sealing is also available.  The butcher will create the cuts exactly as you’d like them.  We’ll ask you to fill out our cutting request form, and we’ll pass it along to the butcher on the day your lamb goes to market.

Prices and How to Order

For the 2017 season, our prices are $6.50/pound for a whole lamb, or $7.00/pound for a half lamb. This is the hanging weight price, which is typically 40-45 pounds.  The butcher’s processing fee of $70 is included — we will pay the butcher for you.  Keep in mind that when the cutting is done, depending on your selections, there is always some “shrinkage” as bones, cartilage, etc. are removed, so it generally pays to keep the cuts as large as possible.  See our cutting request form for more information on the different lamb cuts.  If you’d like the cuts vacuum-sealed, it’s an additional fee of $5.00 ($2.50 for a half lamb).

Here’s how to purchase a whole or half lamb from our farm.  Lambs are processed starting in late October or early November, continuing until all have reached market weight, usually in February.

1. You contact us and let us know whether you’d like a whole or half lamb, and give us your name, email address, and phone number.  We’ll let you know about the current length of the queue and wait time, so you’ll have a general idea of when to expect your lamb. We’ll ask you to fill out the cutting request form for how you’d like the cuts prepared.

2. You should provide the cutting request form to us before market day, so we can give it to the butcher when we deliver the lambs.  We will confirm your instructions by email so you’ll know that we received them. If we do not receive your cutting form in time, you will receive a set of standard cuts. This includes at least one roast plus steaks, chops, and ground lamb.

3. About a week after the lambs are taken for processing, the butcher gives us the final hanging weights. We’ll email you the weight and the total price of your lamb. For payment, we accept cash, checks and credit cards. Paying by check saves us the PayPal processing fee, so we’re happy for you to write a check when you pick up the cuts. If you prefer to pay online, we will email you a PayPal invoice for the total amount. Remember that even if you don’t have a PayPal account, you can still use the PayPal invoice to pay with a regular credit card. We will never see your credit card details.

4. The butcher prepares your cuts after the hanging weights are taken. Typically, we will drop off the lambs on a Tuesday, and the cuts will be ready on the weekend of the following week – about ten days altogether. You have several options for picking up your cuts. You can can get them directly from the butcher, or visit us at the farm. We can arrange an evening when you could meet us at a convenient location in Madison. Or, on Saturday mornings during the winter we will be at an indoor farmers’ market in Madison, so you could meet us there. Lastly, we can deliver your box to your door (see below).

5. You fire up the grill, or take out your favorite cookbook, and enjoy the pleasure of grass fed lamb!

Delivery

We are registered as meat distributors by the state of Wisconsin, so we can offer home delivery.  Your box of lamb will be kept frozen in an insulated carrier, and we will arrange a delivery time that is convenient for you. Our delivery charge is 50 cents/mile to your location, as measured by Google Maps from our farm. However, if we (or you) can organize three or more orders to be delivered to an agreed-upon location, we will waive the delivery fee.

Griddle lamb and veggies for two


Griddle lamb and veggies for two.
Cooked on a “hot plate” (to Americans, a griddle), grilled lamb chops and “veg”
were a favorite lunch for Mark and his mates when he was working at the
Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Important note:

Please be aware that if you have not picked up your lamb within one week after we have notified you it is ready, we will contact other customers and offer them your lamb order for purchase.  We will contact you before this deadline expires.

We depend on our happy (and hungry!) customers to only order if they will follow through with their purchase.  That way we can avoid asking for a deposit on lamb orders, as many small farms must do.  Thank you very much for helping us keep the honor system going strong!

Whether it’s a whole, a half, or individual cuts, we hope you’ll give our lamb a try.  We’re looking forward to hearing from you!