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Sheep's Milk Cheese
At Green Dirt Farm, we make all our farmstead sheep's milk cheese by hand, using milk from our own gently raised, grass-fed ewes. We call them "The Ladies" and as you might imagine—they play an important role on the farm.
The Ladies spend their days and nights out in our pastures where they live the good life, eating nutritious grasses and legumes. This diet of healthy grasses is critical, as it is what gives the milk its distinctive flavor and makes it uniquely ours.
Twice a day, The Ladies head to the milking parlor where they enjoy a tasty and nutritious snack of whole oats while they work. When milking is over, they wander back out to the pasture to roam, eat and snooze under the trees.
The milk begins its journey to the cheese kitchen through a series of super-clean hoses and pipes. Our cheese makers carefully "drop" the milk into a large collection vat and once it's full, cheese production begins in earnest.
Cheese cultures and enzymes are added to promote the creation of curds and whey. The curds are cut by hand and, depending on the type of cheese, are pressed into molds. Over the next few days, cheeses are drained, salted, washed, and nutured until they're ready to go into the aging room or be packaged. As is the nature of handmade goods, no two cheeses are exactly the same.
Our cheese makers currently produce three aged washed rind cheeses—award-winning Bossa, Prairie Tomme and Queen of the Prairie—and two bloomy rind cheeses —award-winning Woolly Rind and award-winning Dirt Lover. In addition, we produce tangy sheep's milk yogurt and five fresh sheep's milk cheeses: award-winning Plain, Garlic & Peppercorn, award-winning Nettle, Spicy Chilis and Rosemary. The awards are from annual American Cheese Society competitions in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Information on where to purchase our cheese is here.
Want a sneak peek into the cheese kitchen?
Come take a guided farm tour to learn about how we care for the land ... how what our sheep eat makes all the difference ... how they're milked ... and how that milk is turned into our award-winning farmstead cheese.