Why is there no Goat or sheep cheese in the Late Spring or Early Summer?

A fair question.

Basically, it boils down to how far from the tree of their original wild mountain ancestors these animals fell vs. their bovine counterparts.

Sheep and Goats (for the most part) only give milk when they are in season and lambing/kidding. That time is March through October.

However, the first milk from the animals is a) not so good for cheese making and b) important to the newly born lambs and kids which makes the effective season more like April-May through October.

“Great,” you say, “but it was May three months ago and there’s still no cheese!”

Again, a valid point.

What you aren’t taking into account for in the aging time of the cheeses.

The bulk of the sheep and goat cheeses we get are older than three months. The average age of most of the aged goats and sheepies in our case at any given time when in season is between 3 and 6 months old.

There are a few bloomy-rind cheeses that mature in about 60 days but they also tend to come later in the milk run as they come out better with late season milk which is higher in fat and protein.

A brief aside: Obviously it IS possible to get goat and sheep milk and thus cheese from these animals all year round. Unfortunately, this involves doing strange and unnatural things like keeping sheep or goats in windowless barns and regulating the “sunlight” they get from artificial grow lights. You’ve heard of people forcing indoor pot to grow faster and year round by altering the hours of sun and darkness? Well it’s the same thing, only with animals.

We do not buy cheese from people who do this.

Also, it is possible to force some goast and sheep to give birth at alternate times of the year but it is hard to do and also requires a herd roughly double or triple the size to keep production steady.

None of the cheesemakers we buy from are large enough to support this practice.

I hope this helps educate any peaved customers demanding the cheese of the cloven hoof.


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