Moroccan barbecued goat, grilled goat sirloin kebab, and braised goat au jus are just some of the ruminant delights offered at the Meet Your Farmer Dinner hosted by Joolz Restaurant and White Diamond Ranch this Thursday.
Organized by Central Oregon Locavore, the Meet Your Farmer Dinner Series partners local farms and chefs to create a gourmet meal and a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The multi-course meal highlights the talents of the chef and the product of the farmer—in this week's case, Lebanese-American chef Ramsey Hamden and goat from local rancher Ann Snyder who runs White Diamond Ranch.
Though goat does not show up often on the Joolz menu, it is the most widely consumed meat in the world, and a familiar protein to the Lebanese-rooted chef.
"It is the ultimate sustainable protein," says Nicolle Timm, founder of Central Oregon Locavore and Meet Your Farmer Dinner coordinator. "Goats can live off almost any plant, very little water, and in a variety of climates."
Like previous national campaigns to promote a specific meat—like the popular "the other white meat" for pork in the late '80s and throughout the '90s—the "No Goat Left Behind" campaign was started by Heritage Food USA four years ago to bring awareness to the sustainability of goat meat and promote the delicious protein in more American cuisine.
"Many people believe that goat is gamey, greasy, and not very palatable," says Timm. "This is entirely untrue. They can be delicious, especially the goats that White Diamond raises. They are meat goats bred and raised to be tender, nutritious, and delicately flavored."
Located in Ashwood between the Deschutes and John Day rivers, White Diamond Ranch lies on an old homestead in an Oregon ghost town about 20 miles northeast of Madras. There, Snyder raises predominantly Dorper sheep, a meat breed developed in South Africa that fair well on range grass and do not require shearing. She also raises a goat variety that is a mix of Kiko, Spanish, and Boer that also do well on range grass. Her ranching philosophy is to raise the best possible sheep and goats in a sustainable manner. She utilizes all parts of the animal (including the wool), raises breeds that do well on dryland range, and raises them hormone and antibiotic-free.
"It is important for people to attend these dinners because they really do get a chance to meet their farmer, hear their story, know their history, and see the incredible amount of work and tenacity that goes into creating our local food source," says Timm. "Those who attend the dinners can see and feel the emotion as well, and their passion for local food is often ignited or rekindled."
Meet Your Farmer Dinner Series
6 pm, Thursday, May 21
Joolz Restaurant, 916 NW Wall St.