My first plan was to go the full-on smallholder route and raise my own goddamn delicious sheep if I had to (not as insane as it first seems, some of my family rear sheep and I’ve been around ovine husbandry since before I can remember). Sadly, however, AJ seems a bit… reluctant to rear plump, pretty little lambs and then send them off to slaughter just so I can have a decent Sunday roast. *sigh* So, on to Plan B.
We live in the suburbs, and if you travel 20 minutes in almost any direction you hit farming/ranch country. A lot is given over to cornfields and horses, but there be sheep in them there hills! Happy, gambolling, mouthwateringly lovely sheep. And god help me, I’m going to find a farmer to sell me one.
With that plan in mind, I hit Google. Obviously, the beginning of December is a horrible time to decide you need a farmers’ market in your life, but my googling did produce one result: a farm which bred sheep for meat and wool and was only an hour away. Even better, they’d be at a local (to them) market on Saturday.
Very excited, Saturday morning we were up and at ’em with the lark, drove almost an hour to get to the market (which had impressive fliers promising a number of choirs caroling, free hot chocolate, and all the fresh local produce you could shake a stick at), only to find the market consisted of about twenty stalls selling useless shit like wood-turned spoons and overpriced kettle corn. Happy I was not.
We found the woman we’d really gone to see, and discovered she made a fabulous range of soaps and scrubs and lip balms with sheep’s milk, as well as produced her own wool from the fleece (AJ came away happy with a couple of skeins which I’m told will be ~perfect~ for a scarf), but as to meat there was very little, and what she had was smoked and flavoured and overpriced. All I wanted was a simple, uncooked leg ffs! She told me that Americans don’t and won’t eat lamb and they tried it every which way and people simply didn’t buy it, so now they limit themselves to smoked legs and chops at $20/lb, which, no.
Clutching our meagre wares — two skeins of wool, a couple of jars of preserves, and the last mozzarella ball from a very busy cheesemaker — I decided that I had money to burn and fuck it, if I couldn’t buy lamb I was getting something. Which is how, two hours later, I ended up placing a deposit on a brand new car.
We went back today and signed about a bazillion pieces of paper, said a long farewell to AJ’s old Impala, and zoom-zoom-zooomed off with a sleek black
batmobile Mazda. I figure the hunt for lamb is still on, but at least now I can whizz around every farm and smallholding in the area in less than half the time 😀