Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Seasons In The Sun

I went out to the sheep paddock this morning to check on the new lambs and take a picture for today's email. A couple of lambs were born the first week of February, then another 8 were born the first two weeks of March, and now there were twins two days ago. A couple of ewes are still to lamb. It is the first few days of Spring, the grass should start growing soon and the deep cold of Winter has passed us. It is the time that lambs should be born.

By the time they are old enough to graze, the grass will have grown high enough. They will feed through the warm summer months and then as the weather winds down again and the grass ceases to grow, we will slaughter them for roast lamb.

It is a great system, one that follows the seasons and just makes sense. I wish that I could take credit for it, but I think that sheep have been working on this concept for quite some time now.

All has been well and good for centuries until enterprising business came into it all. The problem is that if you sell lambs, you want to sell them more than just for a few weeks a year, you want to sell them as early as possible to get the highest prices and sell before your competitors do.

The answer is to ship in frozen lamb from New Zealand, breed your ewes very early in the late summer and push the baby lambs with grain to fatten them up quickly. It works, people love it but it just seems wrong to me. I like following the seasons; it is easier and makes for tastier food.

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