“I enjoy the smell of the land, the sounds of the livestock, the cold mornings, the hot days. I like the deafening silence of a wide open pasture, the joy of a small gust of cool air on an August afternoon. I like the dust, as well as the mud, in their season. I like to stare at the stars in the black sky at night, and I like everything about the morning just minutes before the first glimpse of light. I like the romanticism of ranch life… even those moments when it is anything but romantic.”
There are some folks that are just born cowboys or cowgirls. Based on the quote above, Craig Jones of Capra Foods based in Goldthwaite, Texas, is most definitely a natural born cowboy. And, those words of his make me wish I was a natural born cowgirl. I can feel his passion for ranch life, and it invokes a bit of passion in me, as well.
But, this is not about me… this is about Craig. So, Craig and Capra Foods have been producing superior quality, all natural, lamb meat from the Dorper sheep since 2009. They take pride in sustainability, traceability, and good stewardship from farm to fork. Each and every step of the process is integral to their superior quality, all natural lamb meat.
We had been seeing more and more Dorper sheep around this part of the world, so a few months ago, we sat down with Craig Jones and a few of his ranching partners to find out more about this breed of sheep.
Dorper Sheep are a breed that has been specifically developed over many years to produce meat… not wool. These are meat sheep, and this point cannot be stressed enough. Wool sheep, of the various breeds, are wonderful animals and provide us with some of the finest fibers in the world. However, wool is what they have been bred to produce, not meat. Using wool sheep as the source of our lamb meat is akin to using dairy cows for beef production; it can be done, but it is not ideal. The meat from Dorper Lambs is absolutely superior to most lamb on the market in a variety of ways.
First of all, it possesses a delicate flavor. It is mild, a flavor receptor, and can be used in many different ways and across varying platforms. This is in sharp contrast to most people’s inconsistent experience with lamb. Capra lamb opens the door to culinary innovation with lamb, no longer confined to the pigeon hole of chops, racks, leg and shank. In fact, they consider their lamb shoulders, a cut usually shunned by food service and retail alike, to be an excellent choice for everything from roast to Korean BBQ to wonderful lamb sliders.
A second key attribute is that their lamb is always, always, very lean compared to commodity lamb. There is literally no trim necessary when using this product. Not only does this add significantly to plate coverage (yield), but it also eliminates one of the primary sources of distaste… lamb fat.
A third point: plate coverage or yield. Already alluded to as it relates to fat, there is more to the story. As Dorper Lambs are bred for meat production, they tend to be more heavily muscled than wool breeds. This means that, pound per pound of carcass weight, you get more meat on the Dorper.
And, we’ve had lamb meat from Capra Foods. We can vouch for all the above statements. Craig Jones is a stand up kinda guy with a passion for what he does. These characteristics show in the quality of his product and the integrity with which he runs his business.
We’ve found Craig to be a terribly interesting fella, and we hope you have, too. In the past few months, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting several good ol’ boys who are absolutely rough and tumble but who’ve surprised us with a gentle, wise, articulate side, as well. We’ve fallen in love with them, and we think you will, too. So, be on the lookout for more cowboy or cowgirl bios in the future!