Straight From the Farm
In 2014 I had the luxury of a full month off work which meant the ability to chase down bucket list items at my own pace. One thing that made the cut: a trip to Patterson CA to gather sheep's milk for cheese. While not a typical summer activity for most, it was, for me, a magical time of discovery and a reminder of how precious summer months can be.
While at the farm we found the sheep to be very inquisitive and really, really sweet. Once home and deep into making cheese I knew right away the quality would be impeccable. A few facts here: sheep milk has a higher percentage of fat (about twice as much as cow milk) but little effect on cholesterol due to short-chain fatty acids. In addition, sheep milk is highly nutritious, rich in vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium and easier to digest than cow milk.
Of course, it's all about the cheese and the resulting Ossau-Iraty - a mild variety with a texture similar to Manchego - turned out to be superb in flavor and consistency.
Funny how quickly life takes over and more recent memories become like aged photographs: still precious but fuzzy at the edges (and yes, how sentimental!) I'm holding on to the last wedge of Ossau-Iraty and the reminder of warm nights, long days and the sun-kissed memories of that amazing summer last year.
The final product after 9 months.
Originally published 8/30/15