Saturday, October 2, 2010

New seasons sheep cheese now available

As usual we will feature our award winning Red Hill Pecorino this year, the first wheels of which are just about to be released. In addition I have also produced some interesting alternatives of a soft white mold 'Tyabb Mist', an ashed fresh curd 'Baa Black', and also a moist but crumbly feta 'Friesian Fettish'.

Tyabb Mist
has a mild, sweet flavor, and a soft to oozing texture, made in a 7cm round.

Baa Black
is made in both a rectangular bar and 7cm round. It has an intriguing difference to its goat cousin 'Paradigm log'. The crazy, mottled charcoal rind gives way to a cream softness and a very rounded flavour unique to ewes milk. Best enjoyed at one month maturity when the runny curd beneath the rind stabilises, it is not strong or sharp, and the rind has a hint of lanolin.

Make sure you drop in to one of our markets or the cheesery tasting room to try one of these special cheeses. Ewes milk cheeses are still competing in the fashion stakes with goat cheeses, so if you like sheep cheeses, then please support and request them or they may not survive the test of time. It is a privilege to make these unusual styles but if the volumes aren't commercially viable then they won't get made.

Infrastructure improvements

Changes are happening in the dairy to make life more comfortable and efficient for all involved, including re-construction of the milking bail into a 5 stall rapid-exit type, re-design of the yards system and installation of a fixed-line 5 cup milking system. It is keeping us busy getting changes installed between milkings but all are happy with the improvements. The ewes now have a mineral bar to browse as they wait in the shed, and walk straight out of the bail as it lifts up after milking. Only 2 short girls are still to learn to remove their heads from the bail before it raises. Perhaps they think if their necks get stretched they might get taller! So with being able to milk 5 ewes at once we are hoping to add some extra ewes to the herd to bump up the cheese stocks this year. The pasture is jumping out of the ground and the barley sprouts are growing smoothly also so all will go well fed this year.

Meet #8 - employee of the year 3 times running.

Profile of Number 8
Born in 2006 from a Coopworth / East Friesian cross
Heavy-boned, solid frame and resilient stamina
Quiet nature but stubborn and a little shy
Has the desirable trait of mottled, brindle skin
Well formed udder with fast milk flow
Has a third 'false' teat
Milk production up to 4L per day

A truly incredible ewe who never ceases to amaze us and be a benchmark for the rest of the herd, she has consistently produced more milk than any other sheep including our pure E. Friesians. Currently she feeds 3 lambs during the day then is giving us about 2.5L of milk each morning. They gave us a laugh in the first few weeks after the triplets were born, when more often than not all 3 lambs would be climbing or lying on her back as she chewed her cud. I don't know when she got a chance to eat.
Two years ago she had a remarkable story when one of her twins got stuck under a trough in terrible weather and almost perished with hypothermia. The lamb lived inside the house for a week and against everyone's prediction survived, so we put it back out with her mother and #8 actually took the lamb back and reared it to become a ewe in the herd. Sadly her other twin, a wether died a few weeks later when it got caught in a fence.
So we are very proud to have #8 as part of the team and are watching very closely her progeny to ensure this precious genetics lives on as a core strain of the herd.