Produced by Brenda Jensen at Hidden Springs Farm, located in southwest Wisconsin, Driftless is a fresh, pasteurized cheese made from sheep's milk.
Brenda and her husband, Dean, live in the heart of Amish country. They own 76 acres of land, 30 of which are allocated to grazing for their 116 Lacaune and East Friesian dairy sheep.
Brenda and Dean started with a small dairy herd and have both worked hard to improve genetics and milk quality. Friesians produce a good yield of milk and have very calm temperaments, while Lacaunes bring higher fat and protein into the mix.
The vision for Hidden Springs Farm and Creamery is to be sustainable - both environmentally and financially. Since the Jensens are in the middle of Amish farm country (Dean works as a councillor for the Amish community), they appreciate Amish values and work practices. They employ Amish friends and neighbors for milking and construction. Percheron draft horses -- not tractors -- plow their fields, and donkeys keep coyotes and other predators away from their lambs.
Brenda has been working to develop several cheeses, and Driftless was her first cheese. She has since added an aged cheese, O'Cooch Mountain, well as Feta and a semi-aged cheese called Bad Axe to the range.
Named after a local landmark, O'Cooch Mountain is a small, natural rinded wheel weighing approximately 2lbs. The interior is straw-colored, with a smooth, supple paste when young, becoming firmer with age.
Flavors of O'Cooch show the sweetness of the sheep's milk but with age can become quite assertive. In addition to flavors of milk and grass and caramel, the cheese tends towards notes reminiscent of leather and woodsmoke.