Ian McKittrick says people are often taken by surprise when he says he makes cheese out of sheep’s milk.
However he said once people try it they are hooked. Mr McKittrick said people don’t often realise that feta and halloumi are traditionally made from sheep’s milk.
The Ewetopia farm is one of 10 farms which will open to the public as part of the Hastings Landcare's 2017 Farm Gate Tour from June 10 until June 12.
Ian and his wife Jill have lived on their property for about 15 years. The farm is located about an hour inland from Port Macquarie. The couple have been producing milk, cheese and yoghurt from sheep for the past two and a half years.
Mr McKittrick said the self-drive farm tour gives people an opportunity to understand what goes into the making of their food direct from the farm.
He said the cow’s milk he produces is yellow where as the milk purchased from the supermarket is white.
Mr McKittrick believes there is a potential for danger when the big supermarkets start to dictate what kind of product people get.
The McKittricks grew up in Sydney and didn’t have any previous knowledge about farm life when they moved to the property.
They put a lot of hours into research and discovered that sheep produce really high quality milk. Mr McKittrick said a lot of the production work involved trial and error.
At the moment the farm has about 30 sheep on the property and each sheep produces about a litre of milk a week. It takes about six litres to produce a kilogram of cheese.
Sheep can only be milked for six months of the year unlike cows which can be milked for about nine months of the year
The farm has sheep which are a cross of the East Friesian breed and Awassi which is a Middle East breed.
Mr McKittrick wants to help other specialist farms who need support.
“It’s not a competition between us at all but about building an industry which is good for the region and hopefully will create a bit of a name for the area too,” he said.
He is aware of three farms in NSW which produce products from sheep milk.
The busiest time for Ewetopia is in September where lambs are being born, ewes are being milked and cheese is in production. The ewes are milked for about two hours in the morning and again at night.
From about March until September the McKittricks concentrate on the management of the farm and any essential maintenance that needs to be done.
The sheep do take a lot of care as traditionally they aren’t farmed so close to the coast. Mr McKittrick monitors their health to help prevent the onset of worms and foot rot.
Enterprises involved in the Hastings Landcare Farm Gate tour range from large to small scale holdings and include garlic, essential oils, cattle breeding, conservation sanctuaries, native bush-foods, pigs, sheep, dairy cows and free range chickens.
For more information about the Hastings Landcare Farm Gate self drive tours or to book online visit www.hastingslandcare.org.au