15 October, 2012

Hello Lamb Chop!

Today I received a present at work - a bag of freshly processed local lamb for my freezer for the winter.  Nantucket is not a big island but we do have a few sources of local meat and one of the tastiest is grown right on Nantucket Conservation Foundation property!




NCF began a research project over 8 years to use sheep to manage woody plant growth.  One assumption a lot of people have is that unique grasslands found on Nantucket are a remnant of past intensive grazing across the island.  We started keeping a sheep flock out on our Squam Farm property, using sheep grazing to stop the encroachment of small oak trees, grape vines and poison ivy into open grasslands and so far the project has been very successful!

If you've taken a walk in Squam Farm in the spring, I'm sure you've seen the adorable lambs that are born each year.  One of the important facets of the long-term maintenance of a sheep flock is deciding which sheep to keep in the flock and which sheep aren't good to keep around.  Male lambs are typically not kept in a sheep flock because they get big and aggressive as they get older - a flock can only have a few rams!!  So each year, our Shepard selects that year's lambs that need to exit the flock - either the extra males or lambs that show negative survival instincts... and these sheep make their way to local tables and freezers.  A tasty, completely local and conservation-friendly source of meat. That's many pluses in my book!  If you are a Nantucketer and interested in meat in 2013 - let me know now, the list fills up quickly!