In an effort to better conserve the land surrounding the Abruzzo mountains in Italy, located east of Rome, an organic cheese farmstead has created a program in which anyone can adopt a sheep. The only contingency is that the sheep has to stay in Abruzzo to provide the milk for their delicious cheese—but that doesn’t mean you won’t get your money’s worth.
Marcelli Formaggi farm is located in the small village Anversa degli Abruzzi. The company, a proclaimed Organic Village, started in the 1970s; the family-owned farm has since received worldwide success and acquired fans in top chefs around New York City. One of their specialty cheeses is the sheep’s milk Smoked Ricotta al Fumo di Ginepro (that’s with juniper). Another favorite is their blood-orange-colored Ricotta Peperoncino with Italian chilis, perfect for hors d’oeuvres. Marcelli Formaggi also offers pasta, pesto, honey, oils, and sauces made in and around their village.
There’s only one problem: the land Marcelli Formaggi thrives upon is in a bind. The mountains and land surrounding it are declining due to environmental degradation, so the farmstead has embarked upon a new venture to create revenue that will go directly to supporting conserving that land. The program the company has come up with, befittingly titled “Adopt a Sheep,” also benefits the consumer with a charming box of prizes.
For a donation of $195 per year, ovine adopters will receive a large package with Marcelli Formaggi’s best exports and, of course, a sheep you get to name. Along with your sheep adoption certificate, the deal includes wool socks, Abruzzo mountain honey, two pounds of homemade pasta, two of their specialty cheeses (the Ricotta al fumo di Ginepro and Percorino di Parco, a nutty, full-flavored grating cheese), local olive oil, jars of pesto, and a tote bag. In addition, your membership comes with a discount code for 20% off a stay at their very own Bioagriturismo Farm. So if you can swing a plane ticket, you could one day meet your sheep!