Old Chatham Sheephearding Company - Vino Pair Cheesemaker Index
About Old Chatham Sheephearding Company
The story of the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company really begins with a blue ribbon 10-year-old Tom Clark won for his Hampshire sheep at the Dutchess County Fair in upstate New York. At the time, he told a local newspaper reporter when he grew up he wanted to raise a flock. His career path took him elsewhere, but then Tom and his wife Nancy bought 600 acres of lush grassy fields in Old Chatham, New York. They now own the largest sheep dairy farm in the United States.
Sheep’s milk cheese has been made in other parts of the world for centuries, perhaps as long as 12,000 years, but it is relatively new in the United States. Old Chatham Sheepherding Company was in the forefront of producing some of the first sheep’s milk cheese and yogurt in the US. Max McCalman, maître fromager of the acclaimed restaurants Picholine and Artisanal in New York City and co-author of The Cheese Plate, commented to us, “When I ask my customers for their cheese preferences, it is interesting to note how often sheep milk is mentioned. Sheep milk is rarely heard when I ask about dislikes. Sheep milk cheeses have provided many of the elusive ‘marriages made in heaven’ when paired with various wines.” Recently, in an article written by cheese expert Laura Werlin in Country Living Magazine, Sept. 2002, is states, “Sheep’s milk cheese is the least familiar variety of the big three (ie, sheep, goat, cow) throughout this country. It has been made for centuries by the Basques in Europe, but is only now finding an appreciative audience in America. Those who love sheep’s milk cheese adore its nutty, earthy, sometimes gamey flavors.” Laura goes on to say, “it is easily digested.”