Spring coincides with Easter, both occasions often celebrated around the table. For me, Mediterranean-inspired dishes, pencil-thin asparagus and roast lamb herald the advent of both occasions.
Lamb lovers are fond of debating which area of the world produces the best lamb. California, Colorado, Vermont, perhaps? Australia and New Zealand are also contenders for the coveted “best lamb” prize. Many locals, however, think that award should be bestowed on Lamb Farm in Washtenaw County.
Lamb Farm is nestled on 250 acres in Manchester by the Raisin River, the bucolic, rolling acreage especially well-suited for pasture-raised lambs.
I recently visited John and Suzanne Smucker’s farm wondering if Lamb Farm was an “organic” farm, and asking what that precisely meant regarding farming and raising animals.
“There is so much more to this farm than just being ‘organic’, ” said John. “Organic can mean an animal is put in a small pen its entire life and only fed grain. Industrial organic farms provide their marketing departments the generic ‘organic’ name to label an entire herd of livestock as a selling point.”
“Sustainable agriculture for us means not pushing the limit. It all begins with the soil. To have healthy animals you must have healthy soil for quality grass to grow; our lamb and beef are grass-fed.”
It’s easy to connect the dots: Healthy soil yields healthy grass, yields healthy animals, yields healthy food and finally (whew!) healthy people. Not to mention a delectable eating experience!
Leg of lamb is very easy to prepare. I’m supplying a delicious recipe I found on-line and tested, but truthfully the most essential ingredient for perfect leg of lamb, bone-in or boneless, is a properly calibrated, instant-read oven thermometer. A perfectly adaquate thermometer will set you back around $6, and it’s well worth the expense.
Short on time? A simple seasoning mix of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, chopped garlic and rosemary is perfect to rub over lamb before roasting.
The recipe I used would be wonderful with boneless or bone-in leg of lamb. I used a boneless leg of lamb for easier carving, but missed the bone, which provides additional meat scraps and flavor for savory Lamb and Lentil soup!
Boneless and butterflied leg of lamb are perfect for roasting and easy to carve. The meat is sometimes wrapped together in a plastic net to hold it in place, but I always remove this before roasting. I unroll the meat, season and often marinate it, then roll it back up, tying it at 1-inch intervals before roasting.
Arbor Farms is the perfect-sized independent grocery to carry the full line of lamb and also beef from Lamb Farms.