FARM TO TABLE
From the ground up we grow happy, healthy sheep who provide excellent milk to be used in creating our artisanal specialty cheeses and lambs for the highest quality meat products in Ecuador.
“Cow’s milk is for butter, goat’s milk is for drinking and sheep’s milk is for cheese” …old cheesemaker’s saying
We have tested our farm soils, enriched them naturally with organic materials, and planted special mixed grasses creating sustainable pastures that add flavor to our sheep milk and has seasonal and rotational natural characteristics. We continue to manage our pastures using rotational grazing practices that allow natural refreshment of the ground and decrease concerns such as parasites in the pasture. It is exciting in Ecuador to be able to grow pastures year-round without irrigation or use of chemicals and have a constant source of organic food for our sheep! The sheep naturally give back organic material to the soil, enrich the ground, build better topsoil in the pastures and prevent erosion. As the pastures change throughout the year with blossoming of different grasses and natural shrubs, the flavors in the milk change, and so do the flavors in the cheese. It is amazing to experience the unique flavors in the cheese that reflect what the sheep are eating in the pasture, truly nature adding spice to our lives!
East Friesian and Katahdin sheep, creating the best milk and lamb products in Ecuador
We started in Colorado with Suffolk sheep to produce meat lambs. Many attempts at milking suffolks unsuccessfully led us to add East Friesian sheep to our herd, a breed known for excellent mothering, consistently producing twins and triplets, and having high quality and abundant milk! They are very tame, easy to handle and train and make wonderful pets.
When we moved to Ecuador, we sought out the best quality dairy sheep available and will continue to improve the genetics of our flocks with each generation. Selecting ewes for excellent mothering traits, healthy udders, and quality milk will be our mainstay genetic program.
We started with 20 ewes of East Friesian descent and have a wonderful East Freisian ram, Norman, who will help us continue to increase the flock and improve our genetics. For the meat production lambs, we will use a Katahdin ram, Clifford, who will put excellent muscling on our lambs with naturally fast growth rates and super tasty lamb meat products! We are truly creating the ideal sheep flock with both traits for milk and meat production.
We will continue to raise our own replacement ewes and lambs and keep our flock healthy by not introducing outside sheep. We have tested our flock for the common diseases in Ecuador and are proud to maintain a healthy group without the concerns of Brucellosis and Tuberculosis.
Our sheep are raised and handled by the guidelines of the Animal Welfare Approved organization, https://agreenerworld.org/. We have applied for international certification with this program. Take two Veterinarians word for it, our sheep live a humane life, outdoors on pasture with complete allowance to behave naturally, socialize as a flock, and experience a natural existence.
It is highly speculated that sheep are better from an environmental impact perspective than cows that are raised for beef. They are more efficient eaters that gain weight faster with less food. They do not pull grasses out by the roots and conserve moisture in the ground without creating soil erosion. Sheep will also graze on brush, scrub, and weeds, therefore utilizing more available pasture sources without having to plant specific crops for their main feed source.
LVO is the only commercial sheep dairy in Ecuador
It contains a higher proportion of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which have recognized health benefits. For example, short-chain fatty acids have little effect on cholesterol levels in people. According to a German researcher, sheep milk has more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than the milk from pigs, horses, goats, cattle, and humans. CLA is a cancer-fighting, fat-reducing fat. The fat globules in sheep milk are smaller than the fat globules in cow’s milk, making sheep milk more easily digested. Sheep milk has a higher solids content than goat or cow milk. As a result, more cheese can be produced from a gallon (or liter) of sheep milk than a gallon (or liter) of goat or cow milk. Sheep milk yields 18 to 25 percent cheese, whereas goat and cow milk only yield 9 to 10 percent. Because sheep are more efficient eaters than cows, their yield for cheese production is significant!
If you have never tasted fresh sheep milk, you are in for a treat and a surprise! It is a sweet, creamy, buttery flavor that never tastes like the odor of a sheep. Goat milk retains the strong flavor of goat, which many people love in their goat cheese, but they don’t want to taste it in their milk. Sheep milk never tastes like the animal, it has hints of grasses and flowers and a natural earthy flavor, but it is very mild. It is a versatile milk that can be used to produce almost any type of cheese because it doesn’t impart an overpowering flavor into the finished product, just subtle aromas and natural flavors.
We have built a professional, sustainable sheep dairy with mechanical milking and a creamery to create our delicious sheep cheese, dairy, and lamb meat products
The LVO commitment: Sustainable farming, humane animal handling and welfare, natural and organic, environmentally conscious, and high-quality products from start to finish. Products will only be sold in Ecuador, never exported, and never carried in large chain stores. We will maintain our Artisanal status proudly and continue to farm sustainably all the while functioning as a project for our local indigenous community.
Purchasing our sheep milk dairy products, artisanal cheeses, and hand raised lamb meat will help support the LVO Project effort to provide for our local community! Learn more about The Project.