Over the weekend a few of us drove out to Latrobe, PA to visit our friends at Jamison Farm. I have mentioned Jamison previously in reference to their delicious lamb. John and Sukey Jamison are our “next tent neighbors” at the Ligonier Farmer’s Market. They raise a flock of sheep and lambs on about 200 acres of rolling hills less than an hour away from us. Here is what we saw!
Turning off the main road down a long gravel driveway, the hills of Latrobe have noticeably longer arcs than those in Indiana county. They are not as steep and seem to stretch out further than the hills at Reeger’s farm.
Sukey explained to us that there was a hole in the fence somewhere along the way. This sheep seems to have made use of this exit. Doesn’t he look guilty? Maybe that is why we say people are looking “sheepish”. I don’t mean to make a pun, but seriously, some of these guys acted pretty guilty.
Walking up from the house we found a number of sheep and lambs grazing at the top of the hill. Most were taking a break from the sun under the trees. Sukey explained that their coats are getting pretty thick and they are due for a shearing pretty soon!
For 9 months out of the year the sheep are grazing freely on the hills of Jamison Farm, and in the winter they are brought indoors. While sheep generally breed in autumn, this can lead to difficulties for a shepherd who must manage lambing along with the wintering of the flock. The cold winter months can be and extra stress upon ewes that are lambing. So John and Sukey generally delay the breeding time until the Spring is bringing warmer weather.
Jamison Farm ships world-class quality lamb to customers all around the country including a number of fine restaurants. Above is the packing and shipping barn that finishes off Jamison Farm’s fine operation. You may be wondering what happens in the steps between the pasture and the packing barn. John and Sukey process all of their own lambs in a building nearby, but not directly located on the farm. On the day we visited John was managing the processing, so Sukey (above, talking with Mary) gave us the tour!
At the end of our tour Sukey showed us their remarkable farm house. I believe it was built near the end of the 19th century. From my understanding the floor plan was common among farm houses at the time. The old farm house at Reeger’s Farm that grandmother lives in is striking similar to John and Sukey’s. The two are a mirror image of one another.
Along with selling at Ligonier Farmer’s Market and shipping, Jamison Farm also hosts a number of small events in their own home serving a delicious dinner made with, you guessed it, their very own lamb! And even for us, visitors stopping by for a short visit, Sukey made some oatmeal cookies that were great! Thanks John and Sukey!
Interested in more information? Check out http://www.jamisonfarm.com/