Lamb consumption in the U.S. is generally less than one pound per person per year. While lamb is an important meat in many cultures, it has never regained the foothold it had once in the South before much of the livestock was destroyed during the Civil War. Raising sheep for meat consumption is making a slow comeback in North Carolina pastures.
Finding locally grown lamb has always been difficult here, and it is better to develop a relationship with a farmer and order the meat or offal you need rather than take the chance of finding it at a farmer's market.
At the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, on Yorkmont Road, three vendors offer grass-fed lamb on Saturday mornings, all from different breeds of sheep. None of these are the fat-tailed sheep that is the preferred lamb in Middle Eastern cuisine. You must go early Saturday morning, if you have not pre-ordered.
Christy Underwood and her husband Michael have a 200-acre farm near Shelby where they raise 100 percent grass-fed katahdin sheep, a breed of hair sheep which does not need to be sheared. She has lamb chops, racks, shanks, ground, boneless shoulder, stew meat, liver and kidneys. You can also get specialty cuts, whole or half lambs. Located in Building B. Underwoodfamilyfarms.net.
Charles Proctor sells a cross of Suffork and Hampshire grass-fed lamb raised on his Broken Wheel Farm in Dallas, N.C.. All cuts and offal are available. Located in Building A, the open air building. E-mail: Brokenwheelfarm@bellsouth.net.
Scott Glidden of Glencora, an organic farm in Grover, N.C., raises Barbados sheep, a historic colonial-era breed that was the subject of decades of research at N.C. State University to determine sheep suitable for warmer climates. Glidden generally sells out early on Saturday morning and is also located in Building A. www.glencora.com.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-522-8334, ext 136.