Posts By Kate Rivera

Art that comes from the farm

We have something very special to share today, and the photographs simply ARE NOT going to do this justice – but we have to try!

Recently, we had a guest staying at the farm cottage who is a very talented spinner and weaver. She took home some of the fleece from our sheep, and made yarn…


And then, because she has a new loom and one can’t stop with just yarn when there’s weaving to do…. she made this!


A branch can be inserted into the loops at the top so this piece can be hung on a wall, and we intend to do just that. We’re going to hang it up in the cottage – along with the sheet showing the locks and sample yarns – so future guests can enjoy this lovely piece of art made with wool from the farm!

Here’s a close-up of that beautiful pattern in the hanging:


This piece is quite thick, and the artist, Priscilla, remarks at how very much yarn the technique uses up. Perhaps if I could be patient enough to wash and spin plenty of this wool, we could make an amazing floor rug. (Of course, I’d need to learn to weave. Oh, Priscilla, will you give lessons?!)

Thanks again to our lovely guests Priscilla, and her daughter Jessica!

Lamb Recipes and Cuts From the Butcher

My last post was about the reasons for buying an animal share directly from a farmer. Well, that’s great, but what if you’re not experienced with cooking the various cuts that you receive from a whole animal? The last thing you want is for food – and your money – to go to waste because some cuts never make their way out of the freezer.

When I say you, I mean… me. All of us. Before all this buying direct business, I had never cooked a lamb shoulder or ox tail or rendered lard, and maybe you’ve never prepared a rack of lamb or have any idea what to do with ground lamb. (Or maybe you’re amazing at it, in which case, please comment and share!) Anyway, I’ve started collecting recipe ideas, specifically for lamb, on a Pinterest board:


These are just a few examples, and we’ll be continually adding more to the board. You can follow us at Leaping Lamb Farm – Recipes for Lamb.

That brings me to the next topic… the specific cuts of lamb you receive when you purchase a whole animal share. Our processor, Farmer’s Helper in Harrisburg, calls our customers to work out what they will receive. The American Lamb Board has a nice visual that breaks it down:



Some of these are specialty cuts. For example, to receive a crown, that takes the rack from the whole lamb. You wouldn’t, then, receive a rib roast, or chops from the same lamb. The American Lamb Board is a good resource… they have a “Lamb 101” section with cooking times and temps, plus recipes and and a few other bits of info that an informed consumer may find interesting.

Our lamb shares are still available but quantities are limited, and we’re asking everyone to get their reserved order in by October 20th. Don’t wait ’til it’s too late!

Buying Directly from a Farmer – Why Do It?

Here at Leaping Lamb Farm, we’re getting ready for the fall processing of the lambs born last spring. As Scottie talks to our customers about putting down their deposits to hold their purchases, it’s gotten me to thinking about why my husband and I choose to buy animal shares directly from farmers.

  • chasingsheep-scaled500x500We like directly supporting small, local farms with our dollars, rather than middle-men and shipping companies.
  • We know the farmers and the conditions in which the animals live.
  • We know what the animals are eating, and that they have room to roam and graze.
  • When buying a whole animal (more about that in a minute), we know that we’re buying one animal, rather than cuts or ground meat coming from several different animals.
  • In our opinion… it just plain tastes better! (Plus, none of those foam trays!)

In the past, we’ve purchased a third of a pig (not enough!), a whole pig, and twice have purchased a quarter of a cow. We’ve also purchased a lamb from Leaping Lamb Farm and will definitely do so again this year.

Wondering about freezer space? That was a big question for me when we started buying shares in animals — how much freezer space did I really need? Depending on the animal you’re buying, you may need a chest freezer. A lamb from Leaping Lamb Farm takes up about two paper grocery sacks, while even a quarter cow and half a pig take up much more room.


So, how come at some farms the customer buys a share of a live animal, versus buying cuts of meat in some farm stores or at farmers’ markets? It has to do with whether or not the animals were processed by a USDA-inspected facility. Our lambs are processed at a “custom-exempt” state licensed facility located in Harrisburg. Such facilities are exempt from continuous inspection (they are inspected once or twice a year by the USDA), but may only process livestock for the owner, the owner’s family, and non-paying guests*. This is why farmers will sell you a share of a live animal, making you the owner of that animal. Here at Leaping Lamb Farm, we sell whole lambs, and our customers can make arrangements themselves to split the share, if they wish.

Without getting too much into the politics of it all, there just aren’t enough USDA-inspected facilities in Oregon, and those that exist are extremely busy, and require hauling the animals long distances. Hauling is a stressful occurrence for the animals, which many people believe can affect the flavor of the meat.

*Source: Check out this informative pamphlet from OSU about using custom-exempt facilities in Oregon. It’s written for the farmer, but I’ve found it really useful as a customer to understand the process.


Pro Pasture

Leaping Lamb Farm is a partner of the Pro Pasture Campaign by Friends of Family Farmers.

The flagship program of  this campaign is Pro Pasture Fridays (PPF). PPF is farmers, ranchers, consumers, food purchasers, retail stores, chefs and restaurateurs joining together to promote agricultural practices that put a high value on family farms, animal welfare, public health, the planet and our local rural economies.

We encourage you to take a look around your area and support your local farmers who are raising pasture-fed animals!

Stay tuned for an upcoming post about cuts of lamb, and recipes!

New ‘Roo

Meet the newest resident of the farm!


I brought home this handsome young rooster recently, when purchasing several pullets. Wouldn’t you know, one turned out to be a boy. When you live in a less rural neighborhood, like me, roosters aren’t allowed, so as soon as we confirmed his male-ness (he started crowing inside the coop at 5am!) then we knew he had to go. Lucky for me, I work on a farm!

Scottie had put four of her new hens over by the barn in their own separate coop, and they needed a rooster to help protect them. I’m so glad he had a place to go, because he’s just beautiful. These photos were taken at our house back in May.


We took him over on Friday and introduced him to his new flock-mates, who promptly ditched him. He was also COMPLETELY freaked out by the hoofed creatures — sheep, what are those!?! I’m hoping he just needed a few days to assert himself properly with the hens and learn not to follow people away from the flock, plus get used to all the larger animals.

Now he just needs a good name! Any ideas?

Photos: Kate Rivera

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2013 Scottie Jones

Spring has sprung, the lambs are here!

We had a surprise waiting for us on Monday morning when we went out to the barn… the first lambs of the season! It was our lucky guests that day who first discovered that Piper had given birth to triplets:

And then, on Tuesday morning, Nona gave birth to twins. 

Very exciting times in the barn!

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