OSGOODE — While last year’s season coincided with “some big dips and dives” in the price of lamb, sheep producer Colleen Acres says this second Easter of the pandemic has seen a rebound with prices at a five-year high and holding.
“The price has shot back up again,” Acres observed in late March. “The price is holding steady and is very, very strong.”
The average 80 to 94-lb lamb fetched just over $419.82 at the Embrun Livestock Exchange — or $4.88 per pound — on March 29. A year earlier, the price was $2.93 per pound.
Even adult sheep sold for mutton are fetching higher prices than be- fore, observed Acres, who operates Osgoode-based Maple Meadows Farm with husband Dwayne Bazinet and their three sons.
And while interest in the lamb sector naturally abounds around Easter (on April 4), as the meat is a holiday favourite for some ethnic groups, that market phenomenon is not the driver it once was, according to Acres, whose farm has produced 600 lambs this year, on its way to the usual 900 to 1,000.
“Easter is not really the focus of any serious producer anymore,” she said, attributing today’s reality to a generation of millennials that “have more money to spend on food and are more courageous in the kitchen.”
While prices are up, she pointed out that costs naturally are, too. Acres identified processing fees as a particular industry challenge resulting from a shortage of abattoirs. She said she has lambs booked to go to the slaughterhouse in early May — an appointment made months earlier in November.