If you visited one of our farmers market booths this past weekend you may have been interested – even excited! – to see that we have mutton available. However, many folks don’t know what mutton is, or they think it is something that it is not.
The truth is that mutton is the meat from a mature adult sheep. When you eat lamb you are eating a sheep that is less than one year old. If you like lamb for its flavor then you will love mutton. As Bailie, our General Manager in Point Reyes Station, says “mutton is 20 times more flavorful than lamb”. In fact, one of our favorite authors likes to use the analogy that veal:beef::lamb:mutton – true both for its physiology and its taste!
The USDA has clear standards on how to classify lamb and mutton depending on muscular and skeletal systems (other countries have different standards). For example, lamb carcasses typically have more narrow rib bones with a light red color and finer, leaner texture. On the other hand, mutton has wide, flat rib bones with a dark red color and a more coarse, meaty texture.
Marin Sun Farm sheep (both lamb and mutton) are raised with a long-time trusted co-producer in Solano County, where we raise ewes, or female sheep. The ewes are 100% grass-fed and free of synthetic hormones and antibiotics.
Since mother nature controls when sheep become mutton (at 1 year old!), Marin Sun Farms does not carry mutton year-round like we do with lamb. In fact, this week our delicious mutton is available exclusively at our Farmers Markets. Please come out to visit us this Saturday at the SF Ferry Building, or Sunday at the Marin Civic Center, Montclair or Kensington Farmers Markets!