Washington - “Of all the titles he’s held, he’s most proud of shepherd.”
So says Jessica Zatzman, general manager of Border Springs Farm’s stand at Union Market here, of its owner, Craig Rogers, who raises the sheep that eventually become the cuts of lamb, lamb sausages, and lamb gyros sold at this four-month-old retail stand. A hit with Washington food lovers, Border Springs Farm is bringing its all-lamb, all-the-time butcher stand to Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, in the space recently vacated by the Basic 4 vegetarian eatery.
Border Springs’ arrival in that space seems oddly fitting, then, given Zatzman’s own recent food history. The onetime vegetarian began eating lamb raised on Rogers’ farm to show her support for his commitment to humane raising and slaughtering of livestock. “We are animal welfare certified,” Zatzman said – which means that the meat sold at Border Springs cannot be called kosher or halal.
In her role as Border Springs’ general manager, Zatzman has become an evangelist for ethically raised lamb as an alternative to beef and pork. “Lamb is the leanest domesticated animal,” she said, adding that the lamb sold by Border Springs is exceptionally flavorful and more nutritious than conventionally raised lamb because it is pasture-raised and grass-fed.
Rogers has been selling lamb to Washington-area restaurants for a decade, which is about the length of time he has operated the farm in Patrick Springs, Va., near the North Carolina border. “We opened last year in Union Market and are now coming to the Reading Terminal to spread the gospel of lamb.”
The stand will sell both raw and cooked lamb products. We had a chance to sample the lamb gyros, which was indeed more flavorful and moister than standard vertical-broiler fare.
An exact date has not yet been set for Border Springs’ opening at the RTM, which should take place in the spring.
All photos by the author