Story and photos by John Hamilton
A Southwest Ohio couple is taking the mystery and apprehension out of lamb.
Based out of Jamestown in Greene County, Stephen and Rachel Jarman’s Bank Barn Farms has produced plenty of products for local residents, including those who visit the Jarmans on Saturday mornings at the nearby Clinton County Farmers Market in Wilmington.
“It started out as us wanting to raise our own food,” Rachel Jarman said. “But raising the amount that we needed to get the cuts and what we wanted required us to find avenues to sell some of it.”
This meant selling it family and friends, which went over well, according to Rachel Jarman.
“So, we decided to offer it to parts of the community by going to the (Clinton County) Farmers Market and having a booth there,” Rachel Jarman said.
The name Bank Barn Farms comes from a two-level barn — its upper level is entered from a bank or hillside, or by a ramp built against the barn.
“When the opportunity came to rent my parents’ bank barn, we decided we were going to get some cows, some pigs and some chickens,” she said.
Both she and Stephen were in 4-H and grew up raising animals. So, to return to this was something of a dream come true for them.
One thing the Jarmans like, in particular, is being able to provide lamb and making it seem accessible.
“It’s been really fun to give people a sense of, ‘You can buy this lamb and treat it very simply; it’ll taste good’,” Rachel Jarman said. “It also teaches people that you don’t need lots of wild seasonings to eat lamb. Just cook it simply. Treat it like a steak.”
“Most people believe you need 37 different kinds of exotic spices that you’ll never use again,” Stephen Jarman said.
Stephen Jarman said many recipes they’ve come across from the American Lamb Board and other books have been very simple and “similar to beef.”
They especially wanted to make it accessible after having their first taste of lamb.
“I was at Kroger and they had lamb chops on sale. … I’ve always wanted to try them,” Stephen Jarman said. “I have, historically, always eaten beef, pork and chicken. Growing up, that’s what we ate.”
Stephen Jarman said even his parents will eat “a little bit of it.”
“My dad was like, ‘Oh, nobody raises lamb.’ And now … lamb is like our biggest seller of the animals we raise,” Stephen Jarman said.
Rachel Jarman said they’re trying “alternative things” with the lamb, including seasoning the ground lamb like chorizo, or making lamb bratwursts and sausage.
That’s “for the people that don’t eat pork products like that, giving them an alternative that has a similar flavor but with a different meat as a vehicle,” Rachel Jarman said.
Stephen Jarman added they also sell cuts of meat that aren’t usually sold in most stores.
“We sell a lot of lamb sirloin chops because those are the same cut of meat as a sirloin steak from beef,” Stephen Jarman said. “And we find that people that have not really tried lamb before have wanted to try it grilled like a steak. They like that because it’s like the same.”
With 2020 being a tougher year than usual, the Jarmans are happy to provide locals with food that’ll broaden taste buds and brighten their moods.
Bank Barn Meats
Follow along for videos on farming to information on farmers markets they’re planning to attend.
Facebook: Bank Barn Meats
YouTube: Bank Barn Meats
Lamb Loin Chops
Bank Barn Meats lamb loin chops, 2 chops per person
Dried minced onion or onion powder
Olive oil or butter, optional
Season meat liberally with salt, pepper, onion and garlic. Refrigerate seasoned meat in a sealed container to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
To grill: Preheat grill to medium heat — about 400 degrees. Using tongs, place chops on the grill. Check and turn every 3-4 minutes. Remove from the grill once internal temperature of chops reaches 145 degrees.
To pan sear: Heat skillet to medium. Coat pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter. Using tongs, place chops in the pan and sear each side. Turn chops every 3-4 minutes until cooked. Remove from pan once the internal temperature of chops reaches 145 degrees.
Suggested sides: Serve with a side salad and mashed potatoes or grilled asparagus.