The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 77
lamb. It was impossible not to find his lamb on a menu
this side of the Mississippi and, by necessity and design,
Rogers's relationship-based marketing efforts (if you see
his lamb on a menu, then he knows the chef-which
is to say, he knows a lot of chefs) had turned both his
farm and sheep into culinary rock stars. Rogers spent
his days not just raising sheep, but also jetting all over
the eastern half of the U.S. to drop in at restaurants and
festivals, all while embracing (rightfully so) his status as
a celebrity farmer.
That's all to say that, when Besha Rodell wrote in Modern Farmer in 2012, that Rogers was "big, boisterous, and
selling lamb to some of America's top chefs," she wasn't
wrong. Much of his persona, and the success of his, as he
lovingly calls it, "retirement hobby gone bad," relied heavily on enjoying and promoting the restaurant industry.
"In the industry," he explained as we sat down on some
hay bales to enjoy a bluegrass band picking on the Lamb-
stock stage, "there's a tendency for people to live large.
To work and party and eat." When visiting restaurants,
he'd often (with the help of friends) sample the entire
menu-and it added up to a waistline and a lifestyle that
certainly loomed large.
JUST WHAT IS LAMBSTOCK?
Craig Rogers' mantra
means that he balances
cycling with sheep every
* Lambstock is a restaurant industry, invitation-only
event-if you're in the industry, then you're invited!
* Chefs volunteer to cook meals and snacks ranging
from foraged mushroom pickles to wood-oven pizzas
to whole lamb on a spit.
* Thirsty? Breweries, wineries and distilleries donate
drinks to fuel the party well into the morning hours.
* Between eating and drinking, guests can listen to
live bluegrass, join Craig Rogers for a morning bike
ride, or visit the flocks of sheep dotting the hills.
* Bummed you aren't a chef and can't attend? Follow
the fun on Instagram and Twitter via #Lambstock.
JULY/AUGUST 2017 | 77