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Old Chatham Sheepherding Company

 Ever since 10-year-old Tom Clark won a blue ribbon for his Hampshire sheep at the Dutchess County Fair, he knew he wanted to raise his own flock. Even as life took him in a different direction, the dream still lingered. Years later, Tom and his wife Nancy bought 600 acres in Old Chatham, New York as well as a small sheep dairy about 10 miles away.

Slowly, they build up the herd and began producing milk, which they made into cheese and yogurt. Their cheeses were highly respected, but the sheep's milk yogurt business really took off. So much so, that in 2007 they decided to stop making cheese. Fortunately, a few years later they were able to bring back the cheeses, to the delight of many.   

Today they run the largest sheep's milk dairy in the country, with a herd of more than 1,000 East Friesian sheep. Up to 400 ewes are milked every day, twice a day! Another big challenge is moving the sheep around. They practice sustainable pasture management, which means that the sheep are moved to different grazing areas frequently, so that the grass can regrow quickly. 

Tom and Nancy have a lot of help these days, but they have a hand in every part of the operations. After all those years, they're finally living the dream. 

maker website: blacksheepcheese.com

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