We have experienced some great highs and great lows this month.
We are gaining momentum on the farm-front and the cheese-front. Today the plumbers arrived on site and the beginnings of our own milking parlour are officially started! Only 1 year late… not so bad.
As for the cheese making, we also have some good news. We have a delicious cheese that passed health inspections and safe to sell! We are just missing labels and packaging equipment. Yes, in retrospect we should have had this already lined up but this is the typical challenge we have been facing. We did not want to get too far ahead of ourselves; investing time and money into packaging and labelling a product that never existed. There are so many other unexpected costs popping up everywhere, we are very cautious as to where we spend our money (when we can control it). So now that the product exists, we are moving forth on the next steps.
I hope everyone reading gets to try our cheese. It is a sheep’s milk grilling cheese. It is a cross between a Haloumi and a Kefalotiry. We named it Alexis Doiron after my ancestor Alexis Doiron who was the first Doiron to settle in Rustico. It is a mild salty cheese with a buttery taste and a really nice texture. It is also delicious when grilled. We chose this cheese to start with for a few reasons; mostly because it is a mild cheese everyone will enjoy. We wanted to start with something mild to introduce sheep’s cheese to those who have never tried it. The more discussions we have about it, the more we find people expect it to taste like a goat cheese. This is absolutely not the case; it is completely different. We say it would be closer in taste to a cow’s milk cheese if you are looking for a comparison.
If I have not mentioned it before, many people who have difficulty digesting cow’s milk, do not have the same problem with sheep’s milk. After some digging, we found that there are a few possible reasons for this. Among others, the main protein in the two milks is different and also the size of fat globules are different (in sheep’s milk they are smaller, which for some is easier to digest). It is also higher in protein and other vitamins and minerals (nothing to do with digestion issues just some additional health benefits!) That’s about as connoisseur as I get. We are still learning! Now all there is left is for you to taste it.
How was that? Did my sales pitch work?
Now I said highs AND lows. This wonderful progress came just in time to meet our burn-out. Trying to do everything has been absolutely exhausting so we had to re-jig our schedule, re-assess how we were operating. I have been able to invest a lot less time into the farm than we originally thought I would be able to. As most things do, our initial plan looked good on paper. But what we actually found is that after a full day at work (I work off the farm) and trying to spend time with our son and get some stuff done around the house… there is not much time left for office administration and/or extra duties on the farm. The little bit of help I can give on the weekends is great but it is not significant; leaving the full load on Gab and outside help (we pay our wonderful help in coffee and food… we realize this cannot last forever)
So we decided that instead of milking the animals twice a day, Gab would drop that down to once a day until we get our own parlour up and operating. We did an analysis of what he could accomplish in the time it took do the second milking (remember, we are driving to another farm to do this) and compared it to the money we were actually loosing from not milking the second time and we are not far behind by cutting back. When our own milking parlour is set up, we will start the second milking again, it will be much more manageable.
We were extremely lucky and had beautiful weather for hay. Again, wonderful help to get it all in.
Our farm looks a lot different than it did a month ago thanks again to fantastic family and friends. We had Gab’s dad, 2 uncles and aunt that came to visit us for a full week (from Quebec) to work on the farm. They had a terrible week for weather. They worked every day, all day, in the rain and wind. But what an accomplishment.
One last note. It is a fun time on the farm right now, our lambs are hitting market weight which means we get to sell them! Money is finally starting to come in rather than the other way around. Yeah summer!
Inserted for pure-cuteness. Our baby is almost 2 years old!