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We celebrate the successes of one excellent dairy company this month – Blue River Dairy who received medals for all of their cheeses this year at the Cuisine 2014 Cheese Awards. Gold Medals went to their Monowai Halloumi & Tussock Creek Feta and Silver Medals to Black Mount Cheddar, Curio Bay Pecorino and Vintage Feta.

Blue River farms are all based around Southland, well-known for its lush, green farmland and spacious land mass. As a completely vertically integrated operation, Blue River own their own farms, milk their own sheep, transport the milk to the factory, process the milk into cheese, ice cream and sheep’s milk powder, and market the products themselves too. This vertically integrated system ensures that the highest quality is met through quality control at each level of the supply chain which is something we certainly appreciate at Farro Fresh.

Their sheep are East Friesians as they are the best milking breed but have been cross breed with other sheep to give them the ability to endure the cold southern climate. Maxi Robertson is their head cheese maker and has over 35 years experience in the business and is the brain and special touch behind their award winning cheeses. Maxi believes that: “cheese is a living, breathing being that must be nurtured and cared for on a daily basis”.

Blue River make just sheep’s milk cheeses and they are vocal about the great benefits of sheep’s milk. Much higher in total solids than either cow or goat milk and contains up to twice as many minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. It also contains more of the percentage of A, E, C and B complex vitamins than cow’s milk.

Vitamins. Vitamins A, D, and E and mainly B are essential to good health and are often recommended to be taken as supplements.

  • Vitamin A promotes growth, the immune system, reproduction and vision.
  • Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and muscles.
  • Medical researchers believe that vitamin E helps to delay and prevent coronary heart disease and prevent prostate and breast cancer.
  • Vitamin B supports and increases the rate of metabolism and promotes healthy skin and muscle tone. Vitamin B also reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer and helps combat the symptoms of stress, depression and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to declining memory and dementia and studys suggest consuming more B12 might help protect the brain.

Calcium. Sheep milk contains nearly twice as much calcium as cows and goats milk. Calcium is a very important mineral that is needed to be consummed by people of all ages. It aids in the growth and development of babies and childrens bones and in older age is linked to reducing bone degeneration such as oseoperiosis.

Fats. Sheep milk is higher in fat than cow’s milk, yet 45% of the fatty acids are either Mono or Polyunsaturated fats, thus the healthy fats! Within the fats are three fat soluble vitamins, without which we could not survive. These are A, D and E; our essential vitamins! Sheep milk also contains a higher proportion of medium/short chain saturated fatty acids which is believed to lead to a higher lactose absorption, beneficial to people with mild lactose intolerant.

Dairy intolerant. Sheep milk is a great alternative for those who have difficulty digesting cows or goats milk. Sheep milk has much smaller fat globules than cows milk which makes it much easier to digest than cows milk, and gentle on your system.

This month we have Blue River on special for you to enjoy whether it be for the first time or you are a regular to their delicious sheep’s milk cheese.