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Where to find New Zealand Lamb?

pinehurst Feb 28, 2011 04:38 PM

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. c oliver RE: pinehurst Feb 28, 2011 05:08 PM

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver
      pinehurst RE: c oliver Mar 2, 2011 03:08 AM

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

    2. Morganna RE: pinehurst Mar 1, 2011 05:53 AM

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

      3 Replies
      1. re: Morganna
        pinehurst RE: Morganna Mar 2, 2011 03:08 AM

        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
          solargarlic RE: pinehurst Mar 2, 2011 03:45 AM

          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
            Morganna RE: solargarlic Mar 2, 2011 06:12 AM

            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. p
        purchaser1 RE: pinehurst Mar 2, 2011 07:04 AM

        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. pinehurst RE: pinehurst Mar 2, 2011 07:50 AM

          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
            purchaser1 RE: pinehurst Mar 2, 2011 07:59 AM

            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
              Morganna RE: purchaser1 Mar 2, 2011 08:38 AM

              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
                c oliver RE: Morganna Mar 2, 2011 08:44 AM

                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
                  pinehurst RE: c oliver Mar 2, 2011 02:45 PM

                  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
                    solargarlic RE: pinehurst Mar 3, 2011 02:11 PM

                    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
                      pinehurst RE: solargarlic Mar 4, 2011 03:07 AM

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

                    2. re: pinehurst
                      Morganna RE: pinehurst Mar 7, 2011 11:04 AM

                      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
                        rmsoul RE: Morganna Mar 8, 2011 01:32 PM

                        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: rmsoul
                          pinehurst RE: rmsoul Mar 9, 2011 03:01 PM

                          NICE! Thank you!

                        2. re: Morganna
                          c oliver RE: Morganna Mar 9, 2011 07:04 PM

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

                          1. re: c oliver
                            pinehurst RE: c oliver Mar 10, 2011 03:12 AM

                            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
                              crowdingthepan RE: pinehurst Mar 10, 2011 03:29 AM

                              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
                                c oliver RE: pinehurst Mar 16, 2011 09:46 PM

                                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.

                                1. re: pinehurst
                                  whs RE: pinehurst Mar 24, 2011 03:28 PM

                                  My sympathies.

                  2. p
                    purchaser1 RE: pinehurst Mar 16, 2011 05:21 PM

                    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...

                    1. pinehurst RE: pinehurst Mar 18, 2011 04:32 AM

                      Thank you, Purchaser, even with the ouch. Crowdingthepan, I agree, and think that you and c oliver and I are describing a what my late mom used to describe as the "not an adventurous eater" type. It makes me sad when my niece (nine years old) will happily eat blue, chemically hyper-sour candy but won't take a bite of my (mild) curried chicken salad sandwich when dining out.

                      By the way, I should correct that the shrimp and lobster were cooked, but the oysters, clams, etc, were raw. I was too vague.

                      Purchaser, give me a ballpark figure if you can. If you pay $16, what's a range of what customers should expect to pay. Go ahead, tell me. I've got my coffee and I'm ready ;-)

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: pinehurst
                        simplyput RE: pinehurst Mar 18, 2011 12:24 PM

                        I would look at doing mail order through D'Artagnan, and expect to pay $16-18 per pound. Commercially, they are running $12.50 lb. if your buying large amounts. Australian lamb racks are the thing to get nowadays, as they are fresh (never frozen) while New Zealand seems to always be frozen.

                        1. re: simplyput
                          purchaser1 RE: simplyput Mar 18, 2011 05:36 PM

                          Sorry for the confusion...we are selling them for $16/lb, just not making much on them! Simplyput..we are buying in bulk and still paying over $13/lb, but as far as I know all the Aussie and NZ lamb is previously frozen. We usually receive it with a deep chill on it, but it has been thawing in a Boston meat packing company's possesion.

                          1. re: purchaser1
                            simplyput RE: purchaser1 Mar 20, 2011 10:02 AM

                            They keep saying the price is still going up, but have been trying to hold strong at $12.60lb this week. It's still higher than I'd like to pay, but there's not much we can do about that. They are not previously frozen from what I'm told, and they always appear fresh to me. For a high end meat company, I actually find D'Artagnan's prices to be fair. I know they do mail order, but it's a lot more expensive about $45 for a 1.5lb. rack, fresh or frozen.

                            1. re: purchaser1
                              pinehurst RE: purchaser1 Mar 21, 2011 05:43 PM

                              Purchaser, makes sense that it'd be prev. frozen. Those aren't the worst prices...I've paid more for stuff I love less.

                              1. re: pinehurst
                                purchaser1 RE: pinehurst Mar 21, 2011 05:55 PM

                                I decided to do more research on this adn after speaking to the owner of one of the largest meat companies in Boston have confirmed that all the lamb commercially available from Aus is frozen as it is shipped over by boat. That being said, I still think the quality/consistency are great and will continue to sell it in our butcher shop.
                                Lamb top rounds are a better buy right now if you have a hankering...u can usually get them for around $10-11/lb.

                                1. re: purchaser1
                                  solargarlic RE: purchaser1 Mar 21, 2011 07:06 PM

                                  Even locally raised meats are sold frozen! All my nearby farms have their meats flash frozen and cryovaced by the slaughterhouse, as long as it's done the right way it's not all that terrible. Unfortunately in both cases, it's just the way it has to be done.

                                  1. re: purchaser1
                                    simplyput RE: purchaser1 Mar 23, 2011 10:29 AM

                                    I just got off the phone with D'artagnan in Newark. Cryovac lamb racks are always sold to businesses fresh. They are on a boat to Port Angeles, then Fed ex'd by plane into Newark. Shelf life of 10 weeks as long as they stay cryovaced.

                                    1. re: simplyput
                                      simplyput RE: simplyput Mar 23, 2011 10:33 AM

                                      I also buy local pigs, and whole lambs. They are always fresh, coming to me within days of slaughter, with stamps on it's side. It's out there, just takes a little time finding it.

                                      1. re: simplyput
                                        solargarlic RE: simplyput Mar 23, 2011 07:18 PM

                                        Would you mind sharing sources? The farms in my town (and nearby towns) are always frozen. They usually use Blood slaughterhouse in Groton, MA.

                          2. q
                            qianning RE: pinehurst Mar 23, 2011 03:23 AM

                            Have you checked out the local Halal markets? Spices in Manchester gets his lamb, goat and veal and cuts it himself. I really like both the lamb and the goat meat.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: qianning
                              pinehurst RE: qianning Mar 23, 2011 04:52 AM

                              No, and that's a great idea. I think there's a Halal market/butcher pretty close to me in Methuen, near the mosque. Can't think of the street name but it's off of Oakland Ave.

                              1. re: pinehurst
                                qianning RE: pinehurst Mar 23, 2011 07:40 AM

                                Good luck with that. I don't know the Salem well enough to suggest anything specific, but if you can't find anything down there, let me know & I can give you some ideas in the Manchester/Nashua area. Or check the Boston boards for things closer in to the city, I'm pretty sure there are some posts out there..

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