Westminster West, Vermont
Vermont Shepherd is a 250-acre sheep dairy located in Westminster West, Vermont. Vermont Shepherd is one of the oldest sheep farms in Vermont and is the oldest sheep dairy in the United States. The Major family has had sheep on the farm since 1965 and have been a sheep dairy since 1987. The farm is now run by the Major and Ielpi families, and is home to over 300 ewes.
David Major and his family first learned to make sheeps' milk cheese by apprenticing with cheesemakers in the Pyrenees region of France. They brought their savoir-faire back to Vermont and began producing a raw milk, natural rind sheeps' milk cheese that they also called Vermont Shepherd. Over the years they have diversified their production to include a mixed milk cheese (sheep and cow) as well as a fresh sheeps' milk ricotta. The cheese is produced in a small cheese house on the farm in batches of 10 to 30 wheels. The cheeses are aged on the farm in a man-made cave covered by four feet of earth on wooden boards for a minimum of 60 days or more. The aging process allows the cheeses' natural rinds to grow and for the flavor of the cheese to develop. Vermont Shepherd won two conservation awards (in 2002 and 2006) for the quality of its farming work including improving soils, pastures, and water resources.
Cheeses From This Farm
- Ricotta Lana