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ABOUT SHEEP CHEESE

Raising sheep for dairy production is a small but growing industry, centered in the upper Midwest and northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, that serves an increased demand for sheep milk cheese production.

Guide to Raising Dairy Sheep [PDF]

While the United States has a long history of producing sheep for meat and wool, the dairy sheep industry is relatively new to this country. In Wisconsin, dairy sheep flocks weren't introduced until the late 1980s.This industry remains a small but growing segment of overall domestic sheep production: by 2009, the number of farms in North America reached 150, with the majority located in Wisconsin, the northeastern U.S., and southeastern Canada.

Consumers are showing a growing interest in sheep's milk cheese. In 2007, the U.S. imported over 73 million pounds of sheep milk cheese, such as Roquefort (France), Manchego (Spain), and Pecorino Romano (Italy), which is almost twice the 37 million pounds that was imported in 1985.

There is unmet demand for sheep milk in Wisconsin and throughout the country. Domestically, the market for sheep milk is growing as cheese makers explore the potential of producing unique sheep milk and mixed milk cheeses. In 2009, over 1 million pounds of milk was produced in Wisconsin, an increase of 40% from 2004.
 

 

SHEPHERDS MANOR CREAMERY
NEW WINDSOR, MD

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