It’s no longer just a trend – people want to know the story behind their food. It’s not possible to bring millions of people to sheep farms and ranches, so the American Lamb Board (ALB) is hand-picking consumer influencers for its Ranch Retreats.
Its’ a perfect combination of educational programs: sheep producers tell their story of animal care, environmental stewardship and sustainability, and experts share nutrition and cookery information.
Earlier this week, ALB and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension hosted an influential group of chefs, butchers, nutritionists, retailers, bloggers, food writers and national TV show host Ali Kahn of Cheap Eats at Hillingdon Ranch near Comfort, Texas. The guests interacted with local producers, sheep experts and the ALB team.
The day kicked off with a tour and history of Hillingdon Ranch. The group was treated to a lamb lunch and cook-off including grilled meatballs, Asian kabobs and a whole lamb on a spit. Each dish was prepared with lamb and mutton so that the influencers could sample both.
Dan Hale, professor and extension meat specialist at Texas A&M, gave a lamb carcass breakdown and cut demonstration and discussion. To bring in the wool aspect of the sheep industry, Texas A&M’s Reid Redden, Ph.D., led a shearing demonstration followed by a wool processing discussion with Dawn Brown of Independence Wool.
Feedback was immediate and positive, including social posts from several of the influencers going live throughout the Ranch Retreat. The combined contributions of the American Lamb Checkoff, Hillingdon Ranch and Texas A&M showcased the industry’s contributions for both food and fiber.