New York is often described as being the world in a nutshell. Take the 7 train and head to Flushing and you’ll feel like you’re walking somewhere between China and Korea. On your way, make sure to stop in Jackson Heights for a taste of India and Nepal. Another day, take the 2 to Church Avenue and grab a Trinidadian roti with curried goat; don’t forget to stop at Clark Street and check out Little Yemen. As diverse as all these neighborhoods are, many of them share one common feature: you can find, buy and eat goat meat.
Goat meat is in fact the most popular protein around the world. It’s a lean, nutritious source of meat and has a lower carbon footprint than beef, pork and lamb. But in the US, we rarely eat it. If we’re all having a hard time imagining a cheese plate without goat cheese, we don’t feel like something is missing when there’s no goat meat on the menu.
However, there’s no goat cheese without goat meat. In order to produce milk, a female goat has to have babies. Typically, goats are born as a set of twins — one male, one female. Thus, for every female used for dairy, there’s a male left. Most males in the US get killed at birth because there’s no demand for them and it gets therefore too expensive to raise them.
To tackle this problem and raise awareness, Heritage Foods USA launched an annual project in 2011 called No Goat Left Behind. The idea behind the project is to introduce goat meat to American diners and develop a sustainable end market to support farmers in the Northeast. Goats, like apples, have a season. Naturally mating goats give birth in the early spring and are ready for harvest in the fall. They’re most tender and best enjoyed in October, hence this week’s Instagram #goatober campaign.
But what can we do with goat meat? Goat meat has more to offer than just a stew. First consider that pretty much any recipe that calls for lamb will be just as incredible, if not more, with goat. Take the loin chop for example. A delicious goat loin chop can be marinated in a simple olive oil, fresh herbs and lemon juice mixture for 2 hours, then be seared in a cast iron pan for just a couple minutes on each side. How about some indian inspired goat rillette? Grilled goat chops with garlic, oregano and lemon? Goat in chile marinade, pit-barbecue style? And this is only the beginning…
This week, Fleisher’s will be taking orders for goat meat at both their Kingston and Park Slope shops all week for pick up next week. From there, they’ll be getting in 3 goats per week through the end of the month. They also periodically sell goat meat throughout the year — the more we eat goat, the more they will source and ultimately the more we will support local farmers.
Remember: goat cheese and goat meat are two faces of the same coin.