At Hidden Springs Farm you might call it not so fast food.
Dean and I are people who don’t necessarily “vacation” very well, and as silly as it sounds we almost prefer to work. You might say we were cut out for this. Early mornings, late nights and keeping up with a multitude of chores is just stamped into our DNA. I guess you could say it all comes down to what happens when you combine a little knowledge with a passion to do things on your own terms.
When we started the dairy we had a strong desire to make the best choices for the animals and the land and so far we’ve stuck to those goals. Some people call it “sustainable” and what it really comes down to is doing what ensures the well-being of our flock as well as the land we depend on. We think the key to sustainability is harmony – harmony with the land, the animals and our neighbors.
Doing things the old-fashioned way is kind of nice. We trade equipment with the neighbors who were there for us as we got the creamery up and running. Instead of a tractor, we plow the fields using a team of Percheron draft horses. We followed the lead of our Amish neighbors who knew this gentle tillage is easier on the land. The horses are strong and willing workers with a quiet temperament which grew out of centuries of intimate relationships with their farmers. This is just one of the things that helps make our farm a nice, gentle place.
Donkey bodyguards patrol our seventy-six acres of farmland and protect our flock from coyotes and other predators. Thirty acres of fenced pastures form nature’s salad bar with fresh, sweet rich grass. It is almost all the milking sheep eat and you can taste those subtle flavors in our cheese. The animals graze peacefully and live how they are supposed to live free of antibiotics and genetically modified organisms.
Twice a day the sheep are coaxed into the milking parlor for “treats” as an auger feed system drops food to milking stations "move on down" to make room for the sheep behind them. It’s an ingenious system involving a lot of lines, but a single person can make it work. Milking this way offers a unique glimpse into the personality of each ewe as they wait in line.
We believe the rich, unique flavors of our handcrafted farmstead sheep’s milk cheeses are enhanced by the deliberate way we care for our sheep, the land, and the community we call home.