The Lampasas family ranch has been a part of Ruyle’s life since 1981. Ruyle raised cattle for ten years until a friend suggested running Dorper sheep along with the cattle. This breed of sheep was bred for the arid regions of South Africa, thus performing well in Central Texas. As Ruyle put the flock together during the drought of 2012, he saw that the Dorper sheep performed surprisingly well amidst the bad weather conditions. Once Ruyle tasted the wonderful and unique flavor of Dorper sheep, he knew that raising and growing these animals was his calling. In 2012, Ruyle started I O Ranch Lamb, and began to market the sheep directly at various Austin farmers markets.
I O Ranch Lamb is a single source grower, which means that all of the lambs are born and raised on his ranch. Ruyle takes pride in not only his product, but in the process as well. I O Ranch Lamb puts an emphasis on raising the sheep in their natural environment and diet, as humanely and stress free as possible. The animals are free range, 100% grass fed and finished, and never fed grain nor feed. I O Ranch Lamb does not use any herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, or added hormones. Because the Dorper is a hair sheep, it has a milder and sweeter taste than a wool lamb. Dorper sheep put on a fair amount of fat just on grass, therefore making it a perfect animal for Ruyle’s grass-fed operation. Although with every business comes an endless stream of challenges, Ruyle absolutely loves what he does, along with cooking and enjoying good food.
It was at the SFC farmers market that Ruyle first met the entire Gilmore family, and has worked with them ever since. Working with the Gilmore family has been great for Ruyle because they treat I O Ranch Lamb so well every time he steps foot into their restaurants. Whether it is as a farmer making a delivery, or a customer going in for a great meal, Ruyle can expect the utmost hospitality from the Gilmore family. He has even named one of his Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd dogs after Jack Gilmore because it had the same grand personality trait that Jack Gilmore carries. Ruyle’s favorite dish that Jack has created with his product is the lamb meatloaf sandwich at Jack Allen’s Kitchen at the 360 location.
I O Ranch Lamb provides 100% grass fed and finished Dorper lamb, raised naturally in Central Texas. You can find I O Ranch lamb at the SFC Downtown farmers market and SFC Sunset Valley farmers market on Saturdays 9 am-1 pm, and the Lone Star farmers market at Bee Cave on Sundays 10 am-2pm. Their product is also held at both Wheatsville Co-Op locations, and a few natural food stores around Texas. For more information on I O Ranch Lamb, please visit www.grassfedlamb.net.
For the Meatloaf:
1 cup Celery stalks (finely chopped)
¾ cup Bell peppers (finely chopped)
¾ cup red Onion (finely chopped)
2 pounds Ground lamb
1 pound extra lean Ground pork
2 tablespoons Creole mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Roasted Garlic
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 ¼ cups Breadcrumbs
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons Paprika
½ cup, plus 1 cup Ketchup
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In large stainless-steel bowl, with hands thoroughly combine all ingredients up to and including ½ cup ketchup.
3. Form uniform loaf on baking pan, approximately 2 ½ inches high, leaving space around edges.
4. Drizzle 1 cup ketchup on meatloaf, and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
For the Wild Mushroom Gravy:
3 cups Mushrooms, your favorite (cut into bite-size pieces)
¼ cup Butter
1. In saucepan sauté mushrooms in butter until tender.
2. Serve on top of meatloaf, and enjoy.