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The Finished Product

When we shipped the last of our lambs for processing last fall, we kept the two lightest lambs to finish on grass and alfalfa for our own freezer - we always seem to run out of meat before the next year's "crop" is ready.  We also wanted to teach Sami's 4-H Sheep Project kids about the end product - they usually don't see their lambs after the fair auction.  A week ago, I took these two lambs to our regular processor (Superior Farms in Dixon).  Last Friday, I picked up the whole lambs and took them to Roseville Meats - where we store the meat we sell at farmers' markets.  Today, Dan (who has worked at Roseville Meats off and on for 20 years), showed us how to "fabricate" a lamb - how to cut it up into individual cuts of meat.
Getting started.

As Dan started showing us how to break down a lamb, it was clear that he'd been doing this for a long time.  Like most of the applied arts, butchery takes lots of repetition, and Dan is a master.  He took time to show the kids how to tell where to cut specific pieces of lamb.  He even weighed the meat, the trim (which we'll have ground) and the waste (bones, fat, etc.).  We found that we had significantly greater yield (the ratio of "sell-able" retail cuts of lamb and trim) that we usually get.

Watching Dan work, I was struck by the fact that that our livelihood relies on the skill of many folks - our own skill as farmers must be matched by the skill of our butchers.  Roseville Meats is a throw-back of sorts - not many people know how to cut meat as skillfully as Dan and the other butchers there.
All done!

As I write this, I'm grilling some sirloin chops from these lambs.  I can't wait to try them!


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