The Icelandic Sheep
Icelandic sheep are one of the oldest breeds of sheep in the world.
The Vikings brought them to Iceland around the year
1000. They have been isolated on the island since then and to
this day are the biggest source of meat for Icelanders.
Connoisseurs consider Icelandic lamb the best in the world and
when you are used to the best you cannot accept anything else.
The Icelandic sheep were bred over centuries for a very practical
purpose: to have good meat, good wool, good milk, good
temperment and to be good mothers. Their genetic variation is
huge. They come in a wide range of colors. Some are
multi-colored and some are spotted. Both ewes and rams may or
may not have horns. This makes every Spring (lambing season) an
exciting time here on the farm as we anticipate the numbers and
color variations of our ever-expanding flock.
Icelanders, who live away from their island, have a difficult
time finding farmers raising Icelandic lamb in other countries.
As they travel back and forth between Iceland and their adopted
country, they often fill a suitcase or two with lamb before
leaving the island.
We raise Icelandic lamb here, in the State of Washington, so
there is no need to go 5000 miles for the best.
started off in 2001 with three sheep and a ram and have been
expanding our flock ever since. In 2010 we have 18 ewes, a
ram and our guard Llama, Dali. Having spent many years on
a farm in Iceland, Selma has a very particular way of raising the
sheep. The basic principal is "give them everything they
need and then leave them alone".
During the winter months they stay in or near the barn and are fed
local hay. But as mid March approaches, they go out into the fields where they
are moved to a clean pasture every few days. In late
summer when our fields go dry we move them to greener pastures
Helsing Junction Farm and
Rising River Farm. Both are vegetable farmers,
neighbors and good friends. The fields they lay fallow our
sheep get to graze in late summer. It makes all the
difference to have irrigated pastures. This has become a
wonderful working relationship where as the sheep graze the
cover crop down and leave fertilizer behind. The sheep are
moved from pasture to pastures until the rains
start in the Fall, at which time they head back to the barn.
sheep, lamb out on pasture, weather permitting. It is the
cleanest and most comfortable place for the ewes to have their
lambs. In April during lambing season, Selma does not get a
lot of sleep since she monitors the ewes every few hours in case
one needs help. It is amazing how many births take place at night.
As with any births, most of them happen without any problems, but
it is good to be close by in case help is needed. Over the
years we have had to pull a few and turn one that was coming out
the wrong way, but most of the time Selma stays at a safe
distance so the ewes can give birth to their babies in peace.
We take care of our pastures by fertilizing, harrowing and mowing
when needed. From good healthy pastures come healthy
animals. The only supplements we give our sheep are salt
with minerals and Icelandic Kelp. It might seem
extravagant to feed them kelp that comes all the way from
Iceland but, since Selma knows the fjord the kelp comes from, we feel
safe that we are getting very high quality kelp from non
animals do not receive any vaccines or hormones. The only
treatment they get is being wormed two the three times a year
depending on parasite load. If we have a sick animal that
needs antibiotic (has happened twice so far) to get well that
animal is not offered for sale to our customers.
animals are slaughtered here on the farm. A local
slaughter business comes to our farm. We feel the less
stress there is to the animal the better the meat is. We take
great care in making sure the process is fast, calm and
Our customer base is Olympia and Rochester although we have a
growing customer base in Seattle.
Because of this growing customer base in Seattle we are making
one delivery of lamb to Seattle in the Fall.
The response from our
customers regarding the quality of the meat has been fantastic.
Here are some testimonials:
Bill: As a former chef in Chicago and serving the
best lamb available in the city I thought I knew what fantastic
lamb tasted like but then I had your lamb and it is by far
superior to the lamb I was serving in Chicago.
My wife used to be vegan but after bearing two children her body
was asking for animal protean. Now your lamb and beef is the
only meat we eat.
We feel good about consuming meat raised by you.
Kathleen, Maggie and Quinn:
I would like to express
our gratitude for the wonderful lamb you raised. In the past few
days we have enjoyed some chops and some sliced leg steaks. We
grilled them lightly with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I
have to say that I have eaten lamb from some of the most
expensive restaurants in America and none, and I'm serious, have
even come close to the succulence of yours.
The lamb is wonderful! we have grilled chops and I made a
Norwegian dish with the lamb steaks, had my mother over and she
went wild over it! It is such nice meat, we're very happy. The
beef is great too.
Back to top