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Yesenia grew up summer’s milking cows on her dad’s farm in the Dominican Republic. David grew up tending his dad’s sheep in Vermont. Together, they make a mixed milk cheese called “Invierno”. The sheep milk comes from David and Yesenia’s sheep who are famous for the Vermont Shepherd cheese their milk produces. The cows milk comes from a small dairy farm just down the road. Invierno (or “winter” in Spanish) is a soft to semi-hard natural rind cheese, aged 5-6 months. Invierno is a versatile cheese with a rich, butter and mushroom flavor. It melts well and it’s delicious with cider, beer and rich savory red wines.
One ten ounce wedge.
Westminster West, VT
Vermont Shepherd is a 250-acre farm in Westminster West, Vermont with 300-700 sheep (depending on the time of year), 2 Border Collies (who herd the sheep) and 8 Maremma - a beautiful white dog who protects the sheep from predators - along with shepherds of all ages. David and Yesenia Ielpi Major, alongside their children, watch over the farm. At the northern edge of the farm is a Cave which is home to 2 types of cheese, where they live out the seasons of their lives.
Work on the farm includes: milking the sheep twice a day (5 a.m. and 5 p.m.), moving the sheep from pasture to pasture, haying, shearing sheep, cleaning to keep everything beautiful, and boxing up the cheeses and other goods and sending them out all over the country!
David grew up on the farm and purchased it from his parents, at which point he began making sheep's milk cheese in the 1990s. He was among the first small-scale sheep cheesemakers, and travelled to the French Pyrenées to learn the tradition. At the farm, they dug their own maturing cave, which is built into the side of a hill at the farm.
Vermont Shepherd has won two conservation awards in 2002 and 2006 for the quality of its farming work and improving the soils, pastures, and water resources.
Vermont Shepherd on Instagram
Raw sheep's milk, lactic cultures, enzymes, salt