As a guest on the farm you're invited to share in the gifts of farm life. Guests can enjoy fresh produce from our fields and pasture raised eggs from our chickens. Kids and adults are welcome to help feed the animals, collect eggs from our chickens, milk the sheep, and learn about cheesemaking (depending on season and availability). We also have 3 horse stalls available for guests that wish to bring their four legged friends with them.
What makes an excellent cheese? The most important factor needed for making excellent cheese is the milk. We use the freshest milk possible when making our cheeses. The health of the animal and their diet also affects the quality of the milk. During the summer months, our sheep are out on pasture all day long. We practice rotational grazing, which means that the sheep are never on the same pasture for very long. To meet the needs of our ewes, we also supplement their diet with local hay and organic Vermont grain.
The type of milk used also affects the taste and quality of the cheese. Compared to cow’s milk, sheep’s milk has double the amount of fat and protein. For this reason, sheep’s milk cheeses are incredibly rich and creamy. The fat globules in sheep’s milk are much smaller than in cow and goat milk. This makes sheep’s milk more homogenous than the other milks. The smaller fat globules make sheep’s milk easier to digest. The casein protein found in sheep’s milk is more easily digestible than the milk from holstein cows. It also tends to be easier on the belly for people who are lactose intolerant.
Sheep’s milk can be made into any type of cheese. It hasn’t been easy trying to decide which cheeses to direct our focus. We wanted to make some of our favorite cheeses, but we have so many. It was very difficult to choose just a few.
Aged cheeses develop flavor as the lactose converts to lactic acid during the aging process. For this reason, aged cheeses have a stronger, richer flavor than fresh cheeses. It is also the reason we are in love with so many aged cheeses.
At Fat Sheep Farm, we produce more than sheep's milk cheese and yogurt. Since our first season on the property in 2016, we have grown an enormous variety of crops ranging from asparagus to zinnias. We have sold produce at the Hartland Farmers Market and the Woodstock Farmers Market, as well as to a bunch of local restaurants and stores. As our cabin and cheese business has grown, we began to re-focus our growing to produce smaller amounts of vegetables, but still a great variety. We also plan on growing a larger amount of a few select crops to support area restaurants.
Suzy and Todd searched all over New England looking for the perfect property for their farm and cabin business. In 2016, they spent every weekend traveling to Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. One weekend they traveled to Vermont to go to a friend's wedding, and, of course, stopped and looked at some more real estate listings on the way. Although they had each lived in the Burlington area some time ago, this was their first time driving through central Vermont together. They both had fond memories of the area. Suzy went to summer camp close by as a child, and Todd participated numerous times in the Covered Bridges Half Marathon.
After that visit, they began to focus their search on central Vermont. The first time they visited the farm on Best Road, Todd saw a property which would need too much work to "work," but Suzy was in love! Suzy thought the land had a fascinating history, beauty, and so much potential. It was perfect!