His great-grandfather and grandfather raised small flocks and sold their fresh lamb directly to customers on Front Street in Portland. Today, Anderson Ranch lamb wins accolades from the prestigious James Beard Foundation, is prized by the Northwest’s best chefs and can be found at the meat counters of specialty grocery stores. Reed and Robyn Anderson’s success is due in part to the abundance of lush green grasses that grace their pastures in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, which averages 38 inches of rain every year. The Andersons have also been careful about breeding. They raise four English breeds — Suffolk, Hampshire, Coopworth and Dorset — which were carefully selected for their high-quality, mild-tasting meat and their ability to thrive in Western Oregon’s cool wet climate, which is similar to that of Northern England. All the Anderson lambs live in open fields with fresh air, are left free to roam, eat when they’re hungry, and grow according to the rhythms of nature. After reading Humane Farm Animal Care’s guidelines for certification, Anderson realized that he wouldn’t have to change any of his practices in order to qualify to use the Certified Humane label. “We raise our animals in a completely natural environment. They’re never confined, and they don’t experience stress, even in processing,” says Anderson. The Andersons work with a processing plant owned by another local family that is a mere 30-minute drive from their ranch, which reduces the stress on the animals. Anderson says the key to his success is in understanding what a lamb needs to thrive, then providing it. “If you want to understand sheep, just read the Bible. Sheep have been domesticated since before Christ. They are used to being cared for by human beings. Sheep naturally want to travel and graze constantly. They don’t adapt well to being confined,” he says. The Andersons’ contract with their sheep involves protecting them from predators and providing plenty of open grasslands for grazing. Anderson Ranch sheep are never fed grain or byproducts and they are never enclosed in feedlots, so they have no negative impact on the environment. Anderson Ranch lamb can be found on the menus of Portland’s Blue Hour, the Heathman Hotel and The Herb Farm, among others. The Andersons also sell their lamb directly to Wild Oats Markets in Oregon and Washington, PC Market of Choice in Eugene, Oregon, Prather Ranch Meat Company store in San Francisco and other grocery stores. For information on where to find other Certified Humane® products in your area, visit the “Shop” page of HFAC’s website.