Lamb's Tales
As seen in New York Magazine April, 2006


Left, Colorado lamb: Note bigger bones-denoting a larger lamb-
more fat around the ribeye, and marbling in the center.
Right, Jamison Farm lamb: Very thin bones, a smaller eye
with no marbling, and a thin coating of fat.
(Photo: Davies + Starr)

Spring lamb is an Easter and a Passover dinner-table tradition. Yet this is also the trickiest time of the year to buy it because supply is limited-the bulk of the new season isn't available till May or June-and what is in stores will have been fed mainly grain, rather than grass, which makes for fattier meat. Most of what you will see is four-to-six-month-old Colorado lamb, and even that isn't plentiful, so stores fall back on tougher, gamier ten-to-eleven-month-old lamb to make up the numbers. How do you tell the difference? Look for a smaller leg, which means the lamb is younger. Or seek out lamb from Australia or local small boutique farmers: They're grass-fed, generally less mature, and more tender.

JAMISON FARM
Characteristics
This Appalachian boutique farmer supplies top chefs like Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud, and Dan Barber; you can't buy his lamb at the butcher's, but you can get it by mail order. Jamison rears three-to-six-month-old Dorset cross lambs on grass, which adds seasonal flavor-in spring, there's a hint of wild garlic-and makes them leaner, as the animals roam the hills to forage. Dry-aged for seven to ten days, the lamb is tender, sweet, succulent, and totally natural.

Where to Get It
Jamison Farm (mail order; call 800-237-5262 or go to jamisonfarm.com)