This summer we embarked on an impassioned search for some truly great sheep’s milk cheeses from the mid-west. During our research, our friend John Antonelli—proprietor of Antonelli’s cheese shop in Austin, TX—told Aubrey this crazy story about a guy and a herd of feral sheep in Idaho at a dairy called Lark’s Meadow. So when she had some free time one night Aubrey called this fellow from Idaho, and once cheese makers get talking they tend to go on for awhile. She talked to Mark for quite a long time that night and got the story of these wild-caught sheep straight. Apparently, a farmer in Wisconsin had some sheep that he was trying to turn into a dairy herd so he could make cheese (this can be quite an involved process) and in the meantime went broke.
Unable to care for his herd, the farmer let the sheep go in the wilds of Wisconsin hoping that one day he might be able to round them up when he had the means to properly care for them. A few years go by, and Mark wants to get into sheep dairy and hears a rumor about this rogue herd. He gets a hold of the unlucky farmer and the guy tells him if he can get them to come in from the woods he can have ‘em. Pretty soon Mark heads to Wisconsin in the winter with a trailer of hay and waits for the sheep to come in… And eventually they do! So Mark has now spent several years getting this feral heard of sheep reined in whilst learning the art of cheese making. We think he’s been doing a bang-up job of it—recently he took 1st place at the American Cheese Society for his Dulcinea. Stop by the shop for a taste of something wild!