While a young man Randal lived in Italy for a few years. Here he had his first exposure to dairy sheep and the wonderful flavor of Alpine style sheep cheese. Randal and Carol were again inspired by the alpine sheep cheeses when they visited Italy in 2004. That experience influenced their decision to consider a venture into a sheep cheese business of their own.
Alpine style cheeses have their origins from Mediterranean sheepherders who lambed their flocks in the valleys of Europe. Following the lambing season, the sheep flocks were grazed in the steep but lush alpine meadows following the snowmelt. The cheeses were made and stored in alpine caves. At the end of the grazing season the sheepherders brought the sheep and the cheese back to the valley for the winter. Therefore, all alpine- style cheeses are made from whole sheep milk and are typically aged from 3-6 months. Mountain Valley Farmstead, to the extent possible, follows this traditional method of grazing, cheese making, and aging.
Farmstead products must be produced, processed, and packaged at the same location. All of Mountain Valley Farmstead products are truly farmstead.
Artisan products must be hand made in small batches and are not mass-produced in large volumes in highly automated production plants. Mountain Valley Farmstead products are truly artisan.