24 Please remember to mention OVL when responding to adverts I noticed the smart packaging (white line on very dark navy blue) on a pasteurised sheep’s milk cheese in my local farm shop. When I saw that it was made at Valley View Farm, Carlton, I thought I should investigate for OVL’s Food & Drink Edition. I approached this with some trepidation: goats’ cheese can be quite, well, goaty. I wondered if the Bevistan cheese was going to be tangy in a similar sort of way. I was very pleasantly surprised - it has a very light, delicate flavour. Others I persuaded to test it were also surprised, describing it as ‘clean’ and ‘creamy’. I was lucky enough to meet Beverley (Bev) and Steve (aka Stan which was his school nickname) at home at Valley View Farm in the company of Toad, the sheep dog, and Boris the cat, to discover how this cheese came about. Steve has been farming at Valley View for 40 years with a herd of dairy cattle. Beverley has a farming background but spent 33 years in the aviation industry, ending up as a consultant. About four years ago they thought about producing a niche product, a sheep’s milk cheese. Sheep for dairy is centred mainly in Lancashire and West Sussex, but it is becoming more widespread. The Valley View sheep are crosses between the Friesland, originally from the Netherlands, and the Lacaune, from southern France, but are all UK bred. The ground is heavy North Bedfordshire clay. The cows and sheep graze outside together, which benefits the grazing, improving it for both species. The cows come under cover in October, the sheep stay outside until November. The ewe lambs first give birth at two years old, in February. For a few days the newborn lambs suckle from their mothers to obtain the benefits of colostrum, then they are hand- reared by Bev. This makes them very tame and friendly, and the lambs and ewes settle down quickly. Food & Drink FromEwe,forYou,withPleasure Ann Hagen visits local producers in Carlton and discovers a new love of Bevistan sheep’s cheese