Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Whole Foods

Whole Foods has recently announced that they will be importing Icelandic lamb to sell in their stores. They have even made the comment that Icelandic Lamb is the "best in the world". I certainly can't argue with that! We've been eating Icelandic lamb, as well as mutton for years, and it's amazing stuff. Very mild and lean. Plus, it's nice to know how healthy grass fed meat is. Check out the information on this "Eat Wild" site for the health benefits: (photo courtesy of Saveur magazine)
Here's some basic information about Icelandic lamb from the Icelandic Sheep Breeders of N. America site:

Meat Production
Though famous throughout the world for wool production, the Icelandic breed is predominately grown for meat in Iceland. Since the cool and wet climate precludes the production of most grains in Iceland, the breed has been selected to bring the meat lambs to slaughter weight off of the summer and fall pastures. Icelandics are very adaptable, and can be handled in a variety of management plans. Here in North America they thrive on grass-based farms where they are rarely fed grain, to dry-lot situations where they are fed daily, and all the management systems in between. Market lambs will start to reach their ideal slaughter weights of 70-100 pounds at four to five months. With continued
access to quality graze, the lambs can be slaughtered directly off the grass all through the fall months. This has positioned the Icelandic breed to fit well in the move towards grass-based farming, enabling “natural” and organic farmers to utilize the Icelandic breed. As meat consumers increasingly recognize the health benefits of grass fed meats, and as economic pressures drive our farmers toward grass-based businesses, the genetics of the Icelandic breed become increasingly valuable to our sheep industry. The Icelandic breed is considered a mountain breed, and historically mountain breeds have been milder in flavor, and
leaner than the lowland breeds. The meat is indeed very tender with a mild flavor, and is generally described as gourmet meat. With the leaner, European style carcass, and the mild flavor, Icelandic lamb can appeal to the palate of even those consumers who avow they "just don't like lamb." With the combination of the economic and market advantages of grass fed farming, and with the appeal of the delicious flavor, the Icelandic breed is a natural for direct-to-consumer marketing.

So, here's the post, and link to the article. There's a great video of Icelandic sheep in Icelandic. Now, I just hope that American consumers realize that they can buy FRESH, grass fed Icelandic lamb right here in America, from local farmers, and they won't have to pay those high WHOLE FOODS prices, either!