Hen House Markets is the newest specialty foods retailer to carry award-winning farmstead sheep’s milk cheeses and yogurt from Green Dirt Farm.
|Photos by Sara Farrar|
Cheese makers at the Weston, Missouri, grass-based sheep dairy and creamery craft artisanal products by hand on the farm using pure sheep’s milk from their own gently raised, grass-fed ewes.
The decision to carry Green Dirt Farm’s farmstead cheese and yogurt was an easy one for Hen House. “Green Dirt Farm is a great example of a business that has taken the time to do it right,” says Pat Rogers, Hen House Markets delicatessen buyer. “From the way they care for their animals and land to the extreme pride they take in producing world class sheep’s milk cheeses … the partnership only makes sense for us.”
A soft launch of soft-aged and fresh cheeses and sheep’s milk yogurt at Hen House stores in Overland Park, Kansas, begins this week. Deli departments will stock award-winning Dirt Lover, an ash-dusted French farmhouse-style cheese; Woolly Rind, a mild, soft-ripened cheese similar to Camembert, Brie and other bloomy rind cheeses; five flavors of fresh sheep’s milk cheeses; and Only Ewe Pure Sheep’s Milk Yogurt, a new product from Green Dirt Farm.
Several of the farm’s cheeses have received national recognition. “Dirt Lover, Woolly Rind, Fresh Plain, Fresh Nettle and Fresh Rosemary were recognized for outstanding flavor and quality in national American Cheese Society competitions in 2009, 2010 and 2012,” says Green Dirt Farm Co-founder and Cheese Maker Sarah Hoffmann. The prestigious annual competition is a bit like “the Oscars for cheese makers,” according to Hoffmann.
Having their cheeses available at Hen House is a big step forward for the small, women-owned dairy – and for the sheep’s milk products market.
“We are very excited to partner with Hen House,” says Jacqueline Smith, Green Dirt Farm co-founder and farmer. “Consumers are discovering the healthful benefits of sheep’s milk, and the wonderful flavors found in sheep milk cheese and yogurt – especially those made with milk from ewes that eat grass. Having our cheese available through Hen House will help expand the market for sheep’s milk products and give cheese enthusiasts some delicious new options.”