Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE98-208
Suzanne Sankow and her husband raise sheep. They market the wool and meat themselves, and make cheeses and yogurt from the milk. They wanted to learn how to make higher quality cheeses, which command a better price, and for which the market is strong, so Ms. Sankow applied for a SARE grant to bring Alfred Michiels, an expert on sheep’s milk cheeses, from Belgium.
Mr. Michiels conducted a five-day workshop at the Sankow’s farm, attended by Ms. Sankow and three others. Mr. Michiels discussed and demonstrated various facets of cheese-making, e.g. the use of starters and rennet, sanitation, equipment, pasteurization, brining, aging, and pressing. Together they made several cheeses, including Brindamour, Belgium Abbey, Manchego, and Pyrénées.
Ms. Sankow has taken some of the cheese made at the workshop to her local farmers’ market. She found that the Brindamour sold for $16/lb, twice the price of the Feta that she had been making. She intends to continue to use her newly acquired skills, and to expand her operation by infusing high milk-producing East Frisian stock into her herd, and by increasing the size of her cheese-making facility. She has sent samples of her cheeses to three experts, whose feedback will provide a check on quality.