By Mary Pratt
Lambs, lambs and more than 70 new lambs were born on our farm in Easton last month; we call it a lambalanche. As we watch those healthy lambs race through the barnyard, we celebrate our 31st year of raising sheep.
When we named our farm, Elihu Farm, we honored Elihu Gifford, a Revolutionary War patriot and the first person on our deed. We began with 43 acres and later added another parcel. Gifford’s cemetery will always look out on fields and pastures, because 108 acres of our land is now protected as Forever Farmland by the Agricultural Stewardship Association.
When we bought our farm in 1985 we thought about raising specialty vegetables and small fruits. Then a friend saw our rolling land and said, “You could raise sheep!”
We always enjoyed eating lamb, and perhaps our friend’s suggestion was serendipitous: We found a book that the previous owner had left behind, entitled Raising Sheep the Modern Way. We were hooked.
We joined the Saratoga Farmers’ Market as vendors around 2007. These days, we sell eggs, holiday geese, and lamb. The customers at are among our best ever. They’re friendly and knowledgeable, and appreciate our work and the care we give our animals.
The quality of our products has always been the top priority, as shown by numerous chefs who have used our products. David Britton and Larry Schepici both took cuts of our lamb to dinners at the James Beard Foundation. Steve Barnes from the Albany Times Union followed one of our lambs from birth to plate.
We show our sheep and our wool at fairs and festivals throughout the area, and have won several championships. In addition to our lamb and eggs, we look forward to making our lovely, soft wool available when the market moves to High Rock Park.
For Easter and Passover, we’re taking orders for any cut of fresh lamb through April 11. Customers can pick up their orders on in Saratoga Springs on April 14 or at the market on April 15. Call us at 518-744-3947 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Saratoga Spa State Park through April. The first outdoor markets will be 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at High Rock Park.
Family Favorite Lamb Leg with Roasted Potatoes
Adapted from recipe by American Lamb
Makes 12 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 ½ hrs
*Ingredients currently available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
- 6 to 7 pounds lamb leg, trimmed of visible fat*
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 medium red potatoes*
- 8 rosemary sprigs*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup apricot jam*
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed
1. Coat potatoes with oil and place around edge of roasting pan. Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt. Place rack in pan and arrange lamb roast on rack. Season lamb with salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 325ºF.
2. Combine jam, mustard seeds and thyme. Halfway through roasting, baste lamb with jam mixture.
3. Roast to desired degree of doneness. When lamb is done, cover and allow to stand for 15 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve with roasted potatoes.