Friday, February 01, 2013

Lamb Man at Reading Terminal Market

Craig Rogers, Shepherd
Craig Rogers, whose business card identifies him as "Shepherd", is rarin' to go with his forthcoming Reading Terminal Market stall. Last Saturday he was behind the counter with future staffers for his Border Springs Farm retail outlet.

The necessities of dealing with designers and architects as well as city building and health officialdom means it will be a while before the first little lamb part is exchanged for cash at the stall, located where the Basic Four vegetarian lunch vendor had held court.

Rogers raises two types of sheep: Katahdin and Texel. Katahdin is a "hair" sheep which sheds its wool, which makes the breed ideal for warmer climates. Texel is a breed which produces excellent wool. Both, however, offer good, lean meat yields.

Border Springs' RTM outpost will sell lamb for cooking at home as well as prepared lamb dishes, including sausages. Lamb bacon will also be available, Rogers said.

The stall is being designed by the same firm responsible for Zahav restaurant, where owner/chef Michael Solomonov's lamb shoulder banquet is likely to have its centerpiece originate at Border Springs' pastures.

Spanish Mackerel Returns

"A fish of high quality."

That's how Alan Davidson describes the Spanish mackerel in his indispensible North Atlantic Seafood. A larger cousin to the Atlantic or Boston Mackerel, both offer a meaty, clean-tasting sign that spring cannot be far off.

But what to make of the price?

Last Saturday at the Reading Terminal Market the price was $1.99 a pound at John Yi. Today's price at Whole Foods (Callowhill and 20th) was $4.99. I could see no difference, visually, in the quality of the fish. And I'll be willing to wager that John Yi has a higher turnover of the variety than Whole Foods, so the former's is bound to be fresher.

Because of its size, the whole fish is better baked than sautéed, though I've done the latter with fillets.

Another piscatorial sign that spring is nigh at John Yi's: roe and buck shad. Undoubtedly from Florida. The local Delaware River run is usually in May.