MINNEAPOLIS -- At Holyland in northeast Minneapolis, there isn't even a question as to which meat is the most popular at the market.
"It's Goat! We cannot keep up actually, we don't have enough goat in the market to supply the demand," Owner and CEO Majdi Wadi said, before noting that he goes through 60 goats a week and 120 goats a week during the holy month.
"It's a very tasty meat. If you want to try it, come every Friday here in our buffet, we feature it," he added with a smile.
While immigrant communities drive the popularity at Holyland, popular local food guy turned national expert and show host Andrew Zimmern says goat meat is becoming a little more mainstream.
"It's such an important part of our food world to introduce the older proteins that are new again. Goat in America is like soccer in America. We love it, it's growing in popularity but we don't understand 100% of it. It's not in our DNA yet but it's getting there," the popular food ambassador explained.
Zimmern's food truck, AZ Canteen, features goat prominently in sausage and burger form. "It's beyond juicy. The nice thing about goat is it is a lean product, so it's good for you," he told KARE 11.
There is a reason that a man who has traveled the world focusing on food is so excited; Zimmern hopes goat meat gains ground and becomes more mainstream in the US.
"I think it's going to more than double again over the next two and three years as more mainstream restaurants come on line with it," Zimmern concluded.
"This whole goat production is still in its infancy," University of Minnesota Extension Educator and alternative livestock specialist Wayne Martin said. Martin says the U.S. still gets about half of its goat meat from Australia but he says the market and supply chain in Minnesota is skyrocketing. "It's gone from about 5,000 (meat) goats a decade ago to over 25,000 now," he noted.
Martin says it's catching on as a form of farming. Goats don't cost much to raise and they typically go to market between 6 months and 1 year old. "They produce a crop of kids every year quite easily and often have twins or triplets," the expert said.
Lynne Shonyo has also become somewhat of an expert in the industry, having raised meat goats at her Sherburne County farm for more than a decade. She says she gets inquiries and visits from prospective farmers quite often. "There's a good future in it. The prices the last couple of years have been strong," she explained to KARE 11.
Shonyo's goats breed in the fall and produce kids in the spring. Those kids are ready for market by October and they grow like gangbusters. "It's not uncommon to have them gaining a half a pound a day," she said.
Shonyo says the interest in her operation is not going away, especially in immigrant-rich Minnesota. "It's going to keep growing," she concluded.
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