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Ranch Life

From Ranch to Plate: The Journey of Grand Teton Lamb

by Billie Jean Siddoway 06 Mar 2024 0 Comments

The crisp mountain air carries the scent of sagebrush as the sun paints the Tetons a warm orange. This land has been home to our family ranch for generations, and here, the rhythm of life is marked by the changing seasons and the annual cycle of raising lambs.

Each year, around February 20th, the ranch comes alive with the bustle of lambing season. For eight weeks, our family works tirelessly with a dedicated crew to ensure the safe arrival and care of our newest flock members. Ewes are monitored closely in specially designed corrals, and once lambs arrive, they receive essential health checks and the crucial nourishment from their mothers. J.C. Siddoway, the head of the ranch, keeps a watchful eye, doing his best to ensure each lamb thrives.

As the weeks progress, the ewes and lambs transition from smaller pens to larger ones, gradually socializing and preparing for life on the open range. The watchful eyes of our Great Pyrenees guard dogs add another layer of protection as the herd move toward the uplands, nibbling on the diverse and nutritious plants of the spring range.

May brings the annual shearing, a time to gather and celebrate the clean, high-quality wool our sheep produce. Soon after, the next adventure begins – the journey to the high country. Traditionally, our sheep traversed the entire distance on hoof, but today, trucks safely transport them to the base of the Tetons and Palisades, where their ascent to the lush alpine meadows begins.

Up in the mountains, the work continues. Herders guide the sheep each day, ensuring their well-being and fending off potential threats. Meanwhile, camp jacks handle the essential tasks of cooking, cleaning, and caring for the supplies and horses. J.C. makes regular visits, checking on the flock and delivering necessities. The mountain pastures offer a rich diet of wildflowers and broadleaf herbs, allowing our lambs to grow strong and healthy, reaching weights of up to 140 pounds in just six months.

As autumn arrives, the changing colors signal the descent from the mountains. Some lambs are selected for harvest, while others continue their journey to alfalfa fields on the valley floor. Here, they reach their ideal weight and embark on the final step – processing at a humane and certified abattoir.

The abattoir ensures the process is conducted with respect and care, separating the carcasses into various cuts. These cuts are then vacuum-packed, flash-frozen, and transported back to our storage facility, ready for delivery.

Each week, we deliver our premium lamb to restaurants and grocers across the region, and ship to individual customers who order online. Our commitment to sustainable practices, ethical sourcing, and the well-being of our animals is reflected in every delicious bite. We are proud to be a part of this age-old industry, raising healthy lamb and providing food for families, and we instill a tradition of quality in every step of the journey.

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