A new year has once again arrived. Around the middle of each January I try to look at the ethnic holiday calendar for that year. As you already know, many holidays are celebrated with a traditional holiday feast. However, it is important to realize that a lot of cultures like to celebrate their holidays with lamb or goat meat as part of the feast. If you are a lamb or goat producer, you may be able to market your product at a premium; if you know when these holidays occur and what is desired for the various ethnic holiday feasts. Here is a sampling of some of the 2010 holidays and what consumers may be looking for. (It is important to realize that the date of some of the holidays change on a yearly basis; so in future years you would need to look up the new date.)
Mawlid al-Nabi: The prophet Muhammad was the founder of the Islam faith and this holiday celebrates his birthday. It will occur on March 20, 2010.
Passover: In the Jewish religion Passover (also known as Pesach) observes the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. The holiday continues for eight days from the 14th of Nisan. A 30 to 55 pound lamb that has been milk fed and is fat is the preferred product for this holiday. In 2010 Passover will be recognized from March 30 to April 6th.
Easter: This is a Christian holiday memorializing the resurrection of Jesus following his crucifixion. Easter is calculated differently by various cultures so you may hear it referred to as Western Easter, Roman Easter, Greek Easter, or Orthodox Easter. In many years, the various calculations may cause the numerous Easter celebrations to fall on different dates. However, in 2010 they are all calculated to April 4th. The Western/Roman Easter is celebrated with a 30 to 45 pound, fat, milk fed lamb. It can also be celebrated with a goat weighing between 20 and 50 pounds, 30 pounds being optimal. The goat should be fleshy and under 3 months of age. The consumer wants them to have been milk fed and they should have been gaining at least ½ pound per day. The Greek/Orthodox culture likes similar lambs and goat kids, except slightly heavier. The lamb should be 40 to 55 pounds and goat kids are optimal at 35 pounds.
Ramadan: This is the Islamic month of fasting and is meant to teach the Muslim people patience, modesty, and spirituality. During this period, participants are expected to fast from sunrise to sunset. They may only eat during the night hours. In 2010, the start of Ramadan will be August 11th. Weaned market lambs from 60 to 80 pounds and goats less than 12 months of age (still possessing their milk teeth), weighing between 45 and 120 pounds (60 pounds is optimal), are preferred during this period.
Rosh Hashanah: This holiday marks the Jewish New Year and will be September 9th. The forequarters from a weaned lamb, 60 to 110 pounds in size, are preferred for Rosh Hashanah.
Eid al Fitr: Eid al Fitr is the breaking of Ramadan and the fasting period. It is celebrated with a feast of lamb or goat similar to those preferred during Ramadan. This year the Eid al Fitr celebration is on September 10th or 11th, depending on which calendar you visit. The actual date is based on the first day following the new moon.
Navadurgara (also known as Navratra, Dashara, & Dassai): This is a ten day long Hindu holiday that honors the goddess Durga. The final four days of the celebration include elaborate family feasts for which goats are slaughtered. The demand is for weaned, market kids and yearling wethers. It is unacceptable to use a female goat for this holiday feast. In 2010, the four days of feasting run from October 14 thru October 17th.
Eid al Adha: This is the Islamic festival of sacrifice. It commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. This three day celebration is November 17th thru 20th. Lambs and goats marketed for this holiday should not be castrated and the tails of lambs should not be docked. A lamb of 60 to 80 pounds is preferred but heavier lambs may also be utilized. Yearling goats with one set of adult teeth are preferred on the caprine side but 60 to 100 pound kids may also be marketable.
Chanukkah: This is the Jewish festival of rededication and is celebrated for eight days from December 2nd thru the 9th.
Muharram: Muharram is the Islamic New Year and will be December 7, 2010.
Christmas: This Christian holiday annually falls on December 25th. It can be difficult to market for this holiday because the preference is for young milk fed kids and lambs. This requires October births, May breedings, to hit this out of season market.
There are several other special markets for goat that do not have the religious ties of the previously mentioned holidays. Much of the Hispanic culture enjoys goat meat for barbeques. Two popular items are 15 to 30 pound, suckling kids for cabrito and large weaned market kids for seco de chivo. This is especially popular at Cinco de Mayo celebrations. (May 5th)
The Chinese culture can be a strong market for 60 to 80 pound market goats. This is especially true in the colder months.
The 4th of July is another good opportunity to market goats. Once again, the smaller weight kids for small celebrations, while yearling bucks, wethers, and does are good for large barbeques.
The month of August is filled with a variety of Caribbean holidays for which goat meat is desired. Some of these include Carnival, Carifest, and the Jamaican Independence Day. The optimal goats for this group of consumers are young, 60 to 80 pound bucks in their prime. However, economics may drive some consumers to purchase older goats of either sex.
I hope that this helps you better understand some of the niche marketing opportunities that exist for lamb and goat producers. And please remember that many of the holidays discussed here have moving dates from year to year. Therefore, it is important that you check each year to see when those holidays are, if you plan to market to those cultural groups.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Colorado State University Extension is currently advertising an Extension Range Specialist position. The application deadline is February 24, 2010. The job vacany announcement and application procedure can be found at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/coop/job1005.html .