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Feb 28, 2011 04:38 PM

Where to find New Zealand Lamb?

Is it even available in our area anymore? It used to be ubiquitous, even in the Market Baskets and suchlike. Is there an embargo? Mad lamb disease?

J. Pace & Sons (Saugus) used to carry Australian lamb, but now doesn't carry that anymore (only American). A friend checked last week in Butcher Boy market (N. Andover) to no avail.

Ideally, I'd like to not travel more than a half hour from Salem, NH for it. Any ideas? The holidays are coming. Thanks as always, faithful 'hounds.

Market Basket
RR 1, Rockland, ME 04841

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  1. Isn't Costco lamb NZ or AU? I really love theirs. The legs, chops and racks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      I don't know. Never been to Costco (BJ's is closer), but I will check. Thank you.

    2. What is it you prefer about NZ lamb over VT or NH lamb?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Morganna

        The breeds taste "lambier"...more like the lamb of my childhood. Was told by a butcher friend years ago that Americans tend to not like "game-y" tastes in their meat, particularly lamb, so that many American breeds are raised to have a "sweeter" or more neutral tasting meat.

        1. re: pinehurst

          Have you given any of the locally NH-raised lamb a try? I am not a fan of lamb, but from the flavor of the other locally raised meats, I am thinking that local lamb may be a good substitute.

          1. re: solargarlic

            Yeah, that's what I was thinking. There's a local farmer here (in Vermont) with lamb that I'll be buying a whole lamb from. There are lots of local farmers who are doing different breeds than what sells most in mass market sources. Try going to some farmer's markets in your area, there's probably at least one vendor that sells lamb. Try their lamb and see what you think of it. Then you can talk about buying a side or a whole from them (the price is WAY better if you buy like that). :)

      2. It is becoming hard to find Aussie/NZ lamb because of a few issues. The flooding and cyclones have affected their entire economy for one. According to the owners of a few of the largest meat packing companies in Boston, we are going to have "issues" with lamb for the unforseen future. The price has gone up drastically on our (retailer) end and supposedly we haven't seen the end of the increases. Good luck, and if I come across some I will be sure to post it's availability. What cuts are you looking for?

        1. Thanks to all the replies! I may try to go locally. Purchaser, I usually do both a rack of lamb and a leg of lamb (or I have in the past), two different ways. It's funny (not ha ha, you know what I mean) but even in the chain stores, lamb--any lamb, any cut--is becoming less and less of a presence. That's too bad.

          14 Replies
          1. re: pinehurst

            I manage a butcher shop in S. NH and lamb is behind beef/chicken/pork by a long way. It's become an afterthought for most people, but we are only a few generations away from when it was the staple meat. Finding leg of lamb is rare nowadays, except around Easter time.

            1. re: purchaser1

              Our best friend married a woman from the UK (and she's moved here) and she finds it utterly bizarre how she can't get lamb, and inexpensively at that, in the grocery store. When we went over to the UK for the wedding, I was amazed at how large the lamb section of the supermarkets we went to was. I was also amazed to see -duck fat-, rendered jars of duck fat, at the local CONVENIENCE store near the apartment we'd rented for the week. :)

              I can't even get duck fat at a specialty shop here in the US (I don't think). I'd probably have to render my own or mail order it or something.

              1. re: Morganna

                I'm surprised that you were amazed to find so much lamb in the UK. More than once while visiting we've had flocks of sheep block country roads :)

                The last time I bought duck fat was in WF and it was about $10 for a good-sized (16oz?) container. It lasts me quite a while.

                1. re: c oliver

                  A dish that we had at least once a week during the cold months was very cheap cuts of lamb with string beans....sort of like a stew. with the lamb as the "stew beef". My dad, who hailed from near Naples (Italy) would make this....very few ingredients, very good. I also remember lamb sausage (of all things) being available.

                  So shall I seek out a local farmer in the southern NH/ME area, or do I just go with a lamb leg/rack from a local food store whether that be Whole Foods or Costco or...? It'll be just 10 guests, so I guess I don't need a huge quantity.

                  I'm not sure why lamb is so unpopular. Maybe because it tastes like "something", unlike more neutral-tasting 'meats' that kids eat (chicken nuggets?). I can understand that someone could prefer the taste (or not) to other meats, but it's super easy to prepare. Off topic, c oliver that's a nice price on the duck fat.

                  1. re: pinehurst

                    I would absolutely go with a local farmer, but that's just how I usually make my meat purchases. My friends that eat plenty of lamb get it in NH and think it's really great. I wish I knew the name of the specific farm, but depending where you are, I'm sure it won't be hard to find.

                    btw, I think I cannot eat lamb bc my neighbors when I was a kid raised a lamb for several weeks, slaughtered it, hung it in their basement, and then roasted it for Easter. I had pet the lamb in their garage and then saw it hanging, and at the time could not get over that. Then there was the smell that permeated the neighborhood....just a negative experience that is hard to get over.

                    1. re: solargarlic

                      Absolutely understandable about the lamb. I will let you know how it goes with my lamb quest. Thanks, solargarlic.

                    2. re: pinehurst

                      My husband doesn't like meat that has a strong taste. Lamb is just too strong for him (gamy). He likes beef, pork, chicken, and turkey. He tolerates buffalo, but that's skirting the edge. Lamb, unless it's heavily marinated and grilled (which reduces its gaminess) just doesn't do much for him. I, on the other hand, ADORE gamy meats. :)

                      1. re: Morganna

                        I have found NZ lamb at Stop & Shop on Valley St in Manchester. Just bought rack of lamb this week. I have also found leg of lamb and goat there. Always very good. I think because of it's location( inner city), it's serves a diverse population and carries things you might not otherwise find.

                        1. re: Morganna

                          It seems odd to me that anyone thinks lamb is strong tasting or 'gamey.' I just don't get it.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I think one's palate-likes depend in part on the foods that you were introduced to growing up? I could be wrong. My H. came from a family whose dinners were typically bland....if I use a dash of garlic powder in a dish (and I'm talking an 1/8 tsp or so, not a half handful) he knows, and has a negative reaction; he has zero tolerance for "heat" in food either...doesn't even like black pepper. Salt is his one "spice". He grew up eating four meats: pot roast (the only way beef was prepared), hot dogs, roast turkey and ham. I grew up eating whatever my family grew/shot/fished. We were at a wedding two summers ago where the appetizer table was a raw bar with shrimp cocktail, lobster tails, etc. He was horrified. You know what I mean? De gustibus and all that. Still love him, but it's strange to me.

                            1. re: pinehurst

                              I like to say that there are two types of people: Those that want what is good, and those that want what is familiar.

                              1. re: pinehurst

                                I moved from Atlanta to SF in 1976. Had never even tasted lamb. Went to a now closed restaurant and had rack of lamb. Never found anything about it to be strong/gamey tasting. Never turned back :)

                                I gotta say that there are probably many, many, many people who aren't going to eat raw shrimp and lobster. Actually I've never had raw lobster. But if were presented to me, I would certainly try it.

                  2. Just an update: The aussie lamb racks we got in this week are costing me the same price I used to charge for them! We are getting $16/lb for racks right now and supposedly the price will be going up...