Umpqua Valley Lamb
This article was originally published in March 2016
Since the 1990s, Umpqua Valley Lamb has supplied PCC stores with fresh lamb raised on lush pastures in southwest Oregon. PCC’s direct relationship with this small ranching cooperative has allowed our meat departments to place weekly orders, so the meat always is fresh, tender and flavorful.
“We take great pride in being part of the PCC family of suppliers,” says Umpqua Valley Lamb’s Kathy Panner. “We love the challenge of raising really good lamb in an environmentally sustainable way and having it go to customers who appreciate the difference.” Panner says, “Comments such as ‘your lamb is the only lamb we buy,’ or ‘our children were raised on your lamb!’ is what makes it all worthwhile on a cold rainy day!”
Umpqua Valley Lamb is 100-percent grass-fed. The lambs graze year-round on pastures of fresh grass, sweet clover and alfalfa. Compared with grain-fed, grass-fed meats have:
- higher levels of omega-3 fats
- more vitamin E, beta carotene and B vitamins
- more conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a beneficial fatty acid that may have cancer-fighting properties and may help inhibit formation of body fat
Cooking with lamb
Lamb is a terrifically versatile meat. At PCC, we offer many cuts, including a leg or rack, providing economical choices that can be used for burgers, stews and more.
Grass-fed lamb has a milder flavor than grain-fed, in part because it’s leaner.
Four cuts to try
Rib chops are great when you’re short on time. Cut from the rack, they have a long bone along the side and are notably tender. They’re best used for quick-cooking methods such as pan-frying, broiling and grilling. Season them with rosemary and pair with citrus in our fast, simple recipe for Rosemary-Lemon Lamb Chops with Pan-seared Lemon Slices.
Loin chops are excellent on the grill. They’ve been called “the lamb’s answer to Porterhouse steaks.” Try Lamb Chops with Cucumber Mint Salsa.
Lamb shank is the ultimate cut for slow cooking and can be transformed into a hearty dish featuring fork-tender, succulent meat. Try our Cuban-style Chilindron of Lamb. It’s a rich, woodsy, bright Spanish stew, with roasted red peppers, paprika and onions.
Ground lamb, mixed with ground beef, makes excellent burgers. Try our Lamb Burgers with Olive Tapenade and Feta.
Too busy to cook?
Pick up some of our top-selling Garlic and Herb Lamb Patties, made fresh in our stores. They’re made with rich ground lamb and are an ideal base for a Mediterranean meal.