Shepherd’s Harvest


Photo by canadiancheese

Shepherd’s Harvest has a rind that smells like soil after a long winter. The aroma of rotten leaves and earth assure us that spring is here and it’s time to lighten up.  The mottled, washed rind looks like a tiger’s backside, while the paste is smooth, golden and sweet as honey.
Hope Artisan Dairy Co-op “grows” their cheese. It is hand made and hand washed in a little cheese house before being released into the wild. Their sheep are raised on a diet of blue chickory flowers, red cover blossoms, the purple veteh, yellow of alsike, plantain and herbs. They are allowed to feed on this luxurious diet from early spring into late fall as weather permits. Availabilty is limited and I have yet to find a shop that carries this cheese. As they say,”good things grow slowly”.



Photo by canadiancheese

Back Forty Artisan Cheese is an 11 acre sheep farm nestled in the pristine folds of the Ottawa valley. The owner, James Keith, makes a few different types of cheese but Bonnechere is my favourite. This cheese starts out with a light lactic aroma and ends with a tangy, pineapple punch. It’s creamy, melt in mouth texture coats the back of the throat, begging to be washed down with a a glass of fruity red wine. I nibbled on some this morning with my coffee as I thought the sour, toasty rind would pair well, and it did.

Back Forty adapted a traditional technique from the Basque region to torch Bonnechere over an open flame. This creates a unique, almost reptile-like rind that just happens to be very tasty.

The last I read in a blog by The Canada Cheese Man, James was looking to sell his farm and the Back Forty business. I won’t lie, the thought of buying it crossed my mind many times that day, but I don’t think I’m ready for the life of a cheese maker. It’s kind of like having babies, except the cheese doesn’t cry. I truly hope Back Forty finds someone to carry on their legacy of excellent cheese affinage.