MSU Tollgate Farm 2021 Lamb Sale

In farming, the only certainty is uncertainty. Bad weather, disease (animal or human), medical emergencies, market shifts can all crop up at any time necessitating a shift in how a farmer must run their operation. This was certainly the case when the COVID-19 hit. With limited income from educational programs our livestock program was faced with the stark reality that most farmers deal with everyday: the livestock had to earn their keep. Now, this is not to say that the animals at Tollgate don’t work hard: they do. However, production had never been a priority, much less a financial necessity until COVID-19 happened.

We needed our animals to be able to support the cost not only of themselves, but of the rest of their flock/herd. This meant we needed to get the most “bang for our buck” in terms of inputs (feed, medicine, time) but also profit. We needed a good market and special customers who were willing to pay for fresh, locally produced and ethically-raised meat from our flock of sheep and boy-goats. A relationship with Chef Ken at Toasted Oak has provided this for us over the last year, and we could not be more grateful. The team at Toasted Oak really honors us and our livestock with the food they create for their patrons. The team prioritizes a low-waste cooking style that starts with being willing to elevate uncommon meats such as mutton (older sheep) or goat and often wasted cuts such as offal (organ meats) to center stage within their dishes. 

Now, we would like to give our Tollgate Farm family the chance to bring some of our meat home to your kitchen! As part of our efforts to make our flock of sheep the most efficient at their job, we are moving away from the Suffolk breed towards a cross-bred dorper flock. This means keeping the best genetics from our Suffolk ewes: good moms, beautiful conformation, fast growth, etc and adding in new dorper genetics to add and strengthen these traits. We recently purchased 3 dorper-cross ewes to add to our flock, which means that it was time for 3 ewes with traits we don’t want in our breeding program to go to the butcher. It is the meat from these sheep (2 yearling lambs and 1 mutton) that we are now offering for sale by the cut through our farm store! While you are there, don’t forget to check out the soaps our 4H club makes by hand with milk from our herd of toggenburg goats!

If you place your order by Tuesday morning, all farm store purchases can be picked up from 4 – 6:30 PM every Wednesday in the pavilion.  If you have any questions about pickup, please contact Thank you for supporting our livestock program!

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