Bellwether Farms – Profile

bellwether_farms_500
Established 1986

Owners

The Callahan Family

In her mid-fifties, Cindy Callahan left a career in nursing to begin tending sheep and raising lambs initially used for brush and grass control. Following the suggestion of a friend to milk the sheep turned her on to the potential of running a sheep dairy farm.

To this day Cindy assists in the delivery of nearly every lamb on their farm. Using traditional methods studied by visiting cheese makers in Italy, Cindy’s son Liam makes every pound of cheese produced by Bellwether Farms.

Seasons

Ewes are milked until the end of November and have their lambs in January and February. Cheese is made daily, year-round.

Principles

Cindy finds being around sheep and making cheese both soothing and rewarding. The sheep are pastured and always outside. No herbicides, pesticides, or artificial fertilizers are used. Cindy says, “we use the highest quality milk available to make the best cheese possible.”

Practices

The sheep of Bellwether Farms are a Northern European breed called East Friesian. They are taller than ordinary sheep and are known for their long pointed ears.

Cow’s milk comes from the Jersey cows of a nearby dairy. The milk of Jersey cows has a higher fat and protein count than that of Holsteins.

The mild temperatures of Sonoma are ideal for producing some of the richest and sweetest milk in the country.

Future plans

They have started making yogurt.

Length of relationship with Oliveto

15 years

Location

34 acres in southwestern Sonoma County between Petaluma and Bodega Bay

Products

Cow’s Milk Cheese (80% of production): Carmody, Carmody Reserve, Crescenza

Sheep’s Milk Cheese: San Andreas, Pepato

Fresh: Fromage Blanc, Créme Fraîche, Ricotta

Lambs are sold in the spring

Distribution

60% of income comes from retail sales. They also sell directly to restaurants.

Farmers’ markets

Marin – Sundays

Santa Rosa – Saturday

Davis – Saturday

Website

http://www.bellwethercheese.com/

2017-09-12T15:49:11+00:00 February 8th, 2009|Bellwether Farms, Farmers|0 Comments