Steven Read and Jodi Ohlsen Read established Shepherd’s Way Farms in Carver County in 1994, with a small flock of 50 sheep. In 1998 after losing a major buyer, the Reads suddenly had a surplus of milk and decided to give cheese making a try. Despite being one of the only sheep’s milk cheese makers in the U.S. at this time and with help from University of Minnesota researchers, their cheese making effort was a success! In 2001 the couple relocated their farm to Nerstrand, Minnesota to expand into a farmstead cheese dairy.
The farm, which is located just across from the Big Woods State Park near Northfield, has a mission to combine hard work, creativity, respect for the land and animals, and a focus on family and friends. Steven and Jodi believe the small family-based farm still has a place in our society. Everything they do and everything they make, is in pursuit of this goal.
Shepherd’s Way Farms brings a variety of high-quality products to the Mill City Farmers Market from their flock of 200 East Friesan crossed dairy sheep. These artisan products include Jodi’s award-winning small batch sheep’s milk cheeses, wool comforters and pillows, seasonal gift baskets and their 6 and 12-month cheese CSA.
In the News:
- ‘A Visit to Shepherd’s Way Farms’ (June 2021)
- ‘Good for the Land, Good for the Cheese’ (To Greener Pastures)
- ‘First came the milk, then the sheep cheese’ (Cheese Connisseur, January 2017)
- ‘Sheep’s milk cheese in U.S. earn ribbons but little profit’ (New York Times, December 2016)
- ’10 cheeses you probably aren’t eating, but should be’ (Real Simple)