May 2011

Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Skyelark Ranch

The Lark ‘Ewesletter, May 2011.

Meet Hector the Hero

This is Hector, Sire of Skyelark, and all around Good Guy.

We are pleased (and just a tad proud) to welcome some new additions to the Skyelark Ranch flock. Last weekend we drove the nine miles up to the other end of the valley to Rumsey to see a man about some sheep (’cause that’s what you do on Sundays when you’re farmers).The sheep in question are a breed specific to the Capay Valley, known locally as the Capay Red. They are a complicated mix of the California Red and American Tunis breeds. We’ll share what we learn with you as we get to know each other over the coming months, but in the meantime feel free to follow the links above to learn more. As of right now we are able to tell you that they are fairly docile, loud, attentive (read: always hungry), and can easily set an unsuspecting shepherd on his bum if he doesn’t set his balance when trying to grab one to put it in the trailer. We had heard of their existence as a breed through their original breeder, and tracked them down through the various sheep folk in the valley to the guy who we went to meet on Sunday (who happens to be from Southampton, in the UK). So, after the obligatory cup of tea, we selected twenty of his finest looking ewes, and loaded them into a trailer, shook hands, and trundled down the road to introduce them to the rest of our rapidly growing flerd. So without further ado, please welcome Hector the Hero and his harem to their new home as the base of the Skyelark Ranch flock.

Farmstand!

Our last spring batch of pastured chickens will be ready this Thursday May 19th! If you would like to pick up fresh chickens meet us at 620 F Street in Davis between 4:30pm and 6:30pm. We have a plentiful supply so bring your friends and stock up for summer! In addition to the chickens we will have grass-fed lamb available in whole and half shares that will be ready toward the end of June. Please contact us if you are interested and we will reserve a share for you.

Lamb Packages will include: Boneless Shoulder Roast, French Rack, Loin Chops, Sirloin Chops, Boneless and Bone-in Leg Shanks, & Stew Meat

Whole shares will be $6.99/lb ~ 45 lbs Half shares are $7.49/lb ~23 lbs

Why Skyelark Ranch Meats?

At Skyelark Ranch all of our animals are managed in a way that is good for the environment and good for the animals. Our goal is to produce delicious, healthy, grass fed meats that complement the land that supports them.

Our chickens are raised outside on pasture, where they can diversify their diet by foraging for bugs and plants, stretch their legs and flap their wings, and generally behave like chickens. They are fed grain that does not contain any antibiotics or animal products. The chickens are moved twice each day to provide them with a fresh, clean, and healthy environment as they develop, and to fertilize our orchard and pastures as they go. Our chicken is naturally tender, full of flavor, and healthful as a result.

Our lamb is grass fed and finished, which means they are raised on grass without added hormones or antibiotics, and raised to market weight on forage. We move them to fresh pasture every few days to ensure they are getting the most benefit from the available forage,¬†and in turn, they are fertilizing and adding nutrients back to the earth, providing a much-needed boost for next year’s grass and forage growth. Our grass-fed lamb is naturally lean, with a mild flavor and is a delicious alternative to beef for summer barbecues or winter casseroles.

Recipe to Peak the Appetite

Moroccan Lamb Chops

Thanks to Lisa Benaron this was the first lamb dish I ever made. Lisa sent it to me when I was in Tasmania, where lamb is a staple. So simple and tasty even I could do it. Never did try it with wallaby… would have been good!

8 Skyelark Ranch lamb chops
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 cup dried apricots
1 can garbanzo beans

Pour oil in pan on medium/high heat. Brown lamb for 4 minutes turning once. Transfer to plate and set aside. Add garlic and onion and cook until soft. Add cumin and cinnamon and cook for an additional minute. Stir in broth, tomato paste, apricots and garbanzo beans. Bring pan to a simmer and return the lamb to the pan. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, turning the lamb once. The lamb should be pink inside and tender. Serve with couscous and baguette. Enjoy!

* Got an awesome recipe for your Skyelark Ranch chicken? Post it on our website The Eatery

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