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Raw Milk • Natural Rind • Aged 2-3 months
Availability:Very limited, we have a couple hundred wheels still aging
Created in 2011, this cheese is called "Shepherdista" which is a play on the words 'shepherd' and 'fashionista' as inspired by cheesemaker Seana's commitment to infuse some style and flair into her new-found agricultural pursuits....silver farm boots? Damn right. A pink cheese room apron? Naturally. Wearing lipgloss when hauling milk cans? Of course.
Shepherdista is made exclusively from the milk of dairy sheep who live and graze freely on open pastures. The cheese is made by hand and then aged for at least 2 months on wood shelves. Rather than adding specific molds to the milk or trying to force anything to grow (or not grow) we let the rind develop naturally and spontaneously - it's molds gone wild. In the humid cave-like conditions of our aging room, the cheeses are turned and patted every few days, encouraging the natural molds of our region to take up residence on the rind. The microbial community that develops on the rind changes somewhat through the seasons, so the rinds on cheeses made in August may look a bit different than rinds from cheeses made in May, and we love that! The supple ivory paste has a few holes and contrasts beautifully with the stone-colored molds on the natural rind. With subtle grassy notes and a pleasant tang that only sheep milk can provide, Shepherdista is perfect on it's own paired with a light red wine or slightly acidic white wine, some crackers and fruit, but it's also the perfect candidate for a super chic grilled cheese or great shaved into a salad.
- SILVER MEDAL WINNER, CALIFORNIA STATE FAIR 2012
- GOLD MEDAL WINNER, CALIFORNIA STATE FAIR 2013
- DOUBLE GOLD WINNER, SONOMA COUNTY HARVEST FAIR 2011, 2012, 2013
These are some of the beautiful ewes luxuriating in the pasture after being milked in the morning. You can see the grass that the girls transform into rich milk.
Shephedista being served at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Here is Shepherdista in the cheese room after aging for ~60 days on rough sawn California redwood shelves. We have to keep the humidity rather high, well over 90% to encourage the molds to grow.