The 25 acres of hill pasture, barns and old farmhouse that we bought in 2015 are part of a much larger farm that used to span over 100 acres. The farm was historically a small scale dairy that milked Brown Swiss cows and sold milk to Biltmore Dairy in the early 1900's. When Biltmore Dairy went out of business in the 1960's the farm transitioned to tobacco and beef cattle. We have renovated the old cow dairy into a Grade A certified facility where we milk and make all our products. We are proud to be continuing on in the tradition of small scale dairying that was common in Madison County for decades.
We raise East Friesian sheep, a dairy breed that originated along the border of Germany and Holland. These sheep are known to be heavy milkers and calm to work with. We rotationally graze the flock, using temporary fencing to give the ewes new pasture every day. We supplement with non-GMO feed as this helps the ewes keep weight on during the milking season when their calorie needs are high.
We are a "predator friendly" farm. We do not shoot, trap, poison or kill native species like coyotes, bear, bobcat and fox in order to protect our flock, These native predators are critical to ecosystem health and we want the farm to coexist with the wildlife around us, allowing us to be stewards of both. We rely heavily on our electric fences and our Great Pyrenees guardian dogs - Skip, Star and Leo - to keep our ewes, lambs and rams safe. So far the dogs have an excellent record - we have not lost one sheep to predators!
Sheep milk is considered to be some of the finest milk in the world. Sheep milk contains double the amount of butterfat when compared to goat and cow milk and because the fat globules in sheep milk are much smaller, it is naturally homogenous and less likely to cause high cholesterol. These smaller fat globules also make the milk much more digestible for those with lactose intolerance. Sheep milk has about twice as much protein as cow or goat milk and the milk is high in calcium and vitamins A,D, E, B12 and Folic Acid.
The best part of all is that sheep milk is delicious! It does not have the strong smell or taste that is often the case with goat milk. Instead it is mild and creamy - quite similar to Jersey cow milk in flavor.