Here’s another peak at a staff favorite. Mike Gordon does a little bit of everything here. From answering customer questions on cooking lamb, to checking in on ranch operations, to making our website look great, he handles it all.

My favorite cut is the petite roast. It’s the perfect size for a small meal or lamb gyros. Perfect roasted in the oven and served on a pita with fresh summer tomatoes and homemade tzatziki sauce.




Saturday was 350 day of climate action.  5,245 events shared the biggest stage for  political action the world has ever seen, sending a very clear demand to world leaders that we need decisive action on climate change. Right now the 350 team is delivering the first batches of the 19,000 photos and hours of video taken during events to the UN Secretary General.

350 at Quigley Saddle

350 at Quigley Saddle

As I posted a couple of weeks ago, Lava Lake joined the fray with a scenic and occasionally challenging mountain bike through Idaho’s Pioneer Mountains.

With a green light after days of debate over road conditions, we met right around sunrise on Saturday at the Park & Ride in Hailey, ID.  With map in chilled hands and cardboard 350’s on our backs we took off on the first leg of our trip, thankful to be moving in the cold early hours of an Idaho October.

map photo

The Route

After climbing well over 1,000 feet in elevation we made the divide between Quigley Creek and Town Creek, entering country that only a couple members of the group had ever ridden through.  For the rest of the ride the most often uttered statement was “I had no idea this was back here.”  These are the areas seen by sheep and shepherds and almost no one else.  Beautiful and remote.


Everyone Else's Way

Our Fearless Leader's Way

Our Fearless Leader's Way

After 30 miles we were met by Randy Flood and his pink Mountain Fairy van at the historic Flat Top Ranch for lunch and regrouping.  Another 18 miles later and we were picked up in the van for the final leg to the ranch.

Mountain Fairy

Mountain Fairy With Pioneers

What better way to end a long day in the saddle then with a Lamb BBQ?  Our group retired from the dirt roads of the Pioneers to the comfort of beer and lamb at Lava Lake Ranch.  Everyone agreed that experiencing the landscape and the lamb of Lava Lake made for a great day.

Who knew demanding action on climate change could be so much fun?

group at LL

The Whole Group


Photos By Chris Corwin, Justin Stevenson, and Liz Mitchell

It has been a week since the last Farmer’s Market in Hailey.  No more sunny afternoons under the Lava Lake banner and no more plethora of local food right outside the office door.  Everyone has packed up and gone on down the road to their farms.   Fortunately, the Idaho’s Bounty truck is traveling that same road, and it doesn’t stop for the winter.Bounty_truck

For one day a week, Idaho’s Bounty turns the Armory in Hailey into a stockpile of local food.  Every Wednesday farmers, including us here at Lava Lake, descend on the Armory to drop off their goods for delivery to coop members in Ketchum, Hailey, Buhl, Stanley, and Boise.  It’s like Schwann’s with Lava Lake Lamb and MM Heath winter squash, instead of orange creamsicles.  They provide a great service, by allowing members to order fresh, real food from farms all over Idaho, and then offering either delivery or pick-up options for its customers.  They also are hosting a number of events this fall, including tonight’s Octoberfest Potluck. Our area is fortunate to have Idaho’s Bounty and Lava Lake is proud to be a part of their organization.


Grinnell GlacierPhoto from

Grinnell GlacierPhoto from

Climate change is having a big impact. Perhaps most evident in the time lapse photographs and videos captured by Extreme Ice Survey. Glaciers are receeding up mountainsides and dropping into the oceans at alarming rates.

It is time that we all have a big (positive) impact too.   The question is, how to start.  We are given good direction by Bill McKibben and his team who created Step It Up in 2007 and have gone on to organize international days of climate action each year.  This year’s 350 event is coming up on October 24th.

What is 350?  From 350’s website: “Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis–the solutions that science and justice demand.”

Lava Lake is joining the action with a bicycle tour of the Pioneer the-science-of-350Mountains.  We will be embarking on a 50+ mile epic adventure through some remote Idaho backcountry, and seeing, up close, Lava Lake’s landscape scale conservation efforts.

The ride will join our valley and our ranch to another 2252 actions in 152 countries for 350 in a call for a safe climate future.  Visit to discover more about this international effort and to find a climate action near you.


Photo by Alfred Palmer, Flickr

The fall newsletter of the Mountain States Transmission Interie (MTSI) Environmental Impact Statement confirmed what we had been suspecting.   The proposed route of a new Northwestern Energy 500kilovolt electronic transmission line through the Pioneers-Craters landscape has officially been taken off the table.

Energy and residential development are only just beginning to be felt in the Pioneers-Craters Landscape.  Northwestern Energy’s proposal was a warning shot to all of us who care about maintaining large wildlife populations, working farms and ranches, a diversity of ecosystems, and access for hunting and recreation in this area.

This decision was reached thanks in no small part to the grassroots efforts of the Pioneers Alliance, an association of Carey, Idaho residents, local land owners, public agencies, and conservation organizations.    Now, with the transmission line a non issue the Alliance is focusing their attentions on preserving the qualities we like best about the Pioneers.

Less power lines, more elk.  Congratulations Pioneers.



Trail CreekEvery Monday we’ll bring you a photo from the ranch.

This was taken at Trail Creek in 2007.


John TurenneLast Thursday, John Turenne, President and Founder of Sustainable Food Systems stopped by the Hailey, ID Farmer’s Market to pick up a case of ground lamb.  Not that unusual in its own right, but what is different is the destination of the lamb.  Lava Lake Lamb is served in a number of fine restaurants here in the Wood River Valley, but now it is also being served at the hospital.  That’s right, no more jell-o salad.  The St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center is taking big steps toward creating a more sustainable, locally-based, and healthier menu for their patients and visitors.   This means less time filling out the weekly food service order form from one wholesale supplier and more time perusing the local and seasonal selection at the Farmer’ Market.logo[2]

St. Luke’s has hired John and Sustainable Food Systems to create a plan for transition to a more nutritious and locally based menu at the hospital. Through implementation of the plan St. Luke’s has:

  • eliminated non-desirable food ingredients;
  • become the first hospital in Idaho to sign the Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge;
  • incorporated a cost effective means of serving local food;
  • eliminated the automatic use of disposable service ware by 75%,

The new program, Green Cuisine, is sure to be a hit with patients and visitors to St. Luke’s; especially with recipes like this:LavaLakeMeatball_(c)SaraSheehy

Photo by Sara Sheehy

Cider Glazed Lamb Meatballs

  • ¾ cup Soft bread crumbs (chopped coarse)
  • 1 sm. (7 oz) Yellow onions, very finely diced
  • 1 tsp Garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. Lava Lake Ground Lamb
  • 1 ea. Egg, beaten
  • 1 lb Turnip, peeled, steamed well and mashed fine
  • ¼ cup Dried Currents (or raisons or dried cranberries – chopped coarse), soaked in warm water to soften (about 30 min.) and then drained well
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper, freshly cracked

For the Glaze:

  • 1 qt. Apple Cider

Recipe Method:

Simmer cider in a saucepan until reduced by 2/3. Thicken slightly with a very small amount of cornstarch and water mix if you prefer the glaze to be a little thicker.

Saute the onion in olive oil.

Combine all the ingredients (except cider) in a bowl and gently mix until it has an even consistency. Do not over mix!

Using a number 40 scoop (for one ounce meatballs), scoop mix onto baking pans. With wet hands, roll into round balls and place on parchment paper on baking pan allowing 1 inch between balls.

Bake in 375 degree conventional oven for 15 minutes.

When meatballs are cooked, toss in reduced cider to evenly coat (not to be swimming in sauce.

Serve w/ braised cabbage, mashed potatoes or squash, or roasted roots