Smokey the Lamb Causes a Stir on the Lower East Side and Beyond

Black Tree's Instagram.

Black Tree's Instagram.
Black Tree’s Instagram.

Have you met Smokey the Lamb? This little guy was adopted by Sandy Dee Hall, co-owner and chef of Black Tree on Orchard Street, and his girlfriend, Maxine Cher. He’s been spotted all over the Lower East Side and Brooklyn during the past three weeks and, over the weekend, got the royal treatment from the New York Post:

Abandoned by his mother, the little lamb had nearly frozen at Violet Hill Farm in West Winfield, NY. The farmer who found him brought him into his home and sat him by the fire until he slowly came back to life. The farmer then called Hall, the 34-year-old chef and co-owner of Black Tree, who orders his pork from the farm. This time, the farmer wasn’t calling about a meat order. He’d found lost little lambs before, and when Hall heard about them, he volunteered to take the next one. “Sometimes the moms reject lambs, and they don’t know why,” Hall says. “I’d been wanting to foster one for a while, and he called me up and told me he was bringing down a lamb for me.” They smuggled the little lamb, nestled in a small pan padded with towels, up to Hall’s second-floor apartment. (To this day, his landlord has yet to comment.) … Smokey needs to be bottle-fed three times a day — Violet Hill Farm provides his formula — after which he needs to be burped, just like a human baby, over someone’s shoulder.

The story notes that the city’s Department of Health “frowns on keeping sheep in the city,” but so far Hall and Cher haven’t been fined. At the same time, he’ll eventually grow to 140 pounds, so once Smokey is  weaned off his bottle, he’ll be going back to the farm.  Meanwhile, Black Tree, which specializes in whole animal butchering, has taken lamb off the menu.