Four years ago, I found myself knee-deep in the high grass of a sheep pasture within a mutton chop's throw of the Blue Ridge Parkway. After four days of finger-lickin love / lamb / fire / fun / passion / pork / coffee / 'cue / booze / bikes / tunes / tents / chefs / shenanigans, I was transformed. And hooked.
I first covered this affair for The New York Times, but 2016 was pure indulgence in the beauty, fellowship and frenetic deliciousness that happens when chefs, somms, farmers, charmers, brewers, chewers, millers, distillers, growers, showers, foragers, photographers, butchers, cookers, cheesemongers, fishfryers, wineries, cideries, hip hop crooners, banjo tuners, barkeeps, RV peeps and hooligans get off the grid and onto the same frequency of share and share alike.
Shepherd Craig Rogers, known best for sustainably raising healthy, happy, loved and naturally-plumped lamb that ends up on the finest menus in America, is a true gentleman farmer. Each year, he and his team open up the gates to welcome anyone with one foot in the ethical food business and another foot in the business of feeding joy like a baker's starter.
Grounded in passion, craft and integrity that spreads person-to-person, region-by-region, tent-by-tent, invitees are drawn to the promise of personal and professional relationships built around the breaking of bread. Those who've sunk their teeth into Lambstock know that we the alumni are forevermore ambassadors for the soulfulness of food. How we gather and why we gather gives new meaning to word of mouth.
Check out the video above. Besides the soaring Blue Ridge via drone, pay attention to an astonishing time-lapse: 24 hours of Lambstock 2016. Note that the Chef's Pavilion is quiet for but a micro-second, because at Lambstock, someone's always hungry...and someone's always cooking. See you next year.