Rich yet fluffy and in a range of flavors that offer something for everyone, Driftless is a delectable fresh sheep's milk cheese.
It's produced by Brenda Jensen at Hidden Springs Farm, located in southwest Wisconsin. Jensen and her husband, Dean, live in the heart of Amish country. They own seventy-six acres of land, much of which is allocated to grazing for their flock of over 500 of Lacaune and East Friesian dairy sheep.
Hidden Springs Farm and Creamery strives to be sustainable, both environmentally and financially. Since the Jensens are in the middle of Amish farm country, they appreciate Amish values and work practices. They employ Amish friends and neighbors for both milking and construction. A team of Percheron draft horses (not tractors) plow their fields, and a donkey keep coyotes and other predators away from their lambs. Today Brenda has around eight cheeses available, although Driftless was her first.
The cheese is named after the Driftless Region which gets its name from its lack of “drift,” a mixture of sand rock and silt left behind by retreating glaciers. To make it, Brenda adds rennet to the milk to make a soft curd, and then hand-ladles the cheese into mesh bags to drain. The cheese is then transferred into containers for sale. Driftless comes in a variety of flavors including Basil & Olive Oil, Cranberry & Cinnamon, Tomato & Garlic, Pumpkin (seasonal), Maple, and Honey & Lavender.
Since Driftless is a fresh cheese, the texture is moist and tangy. Due to the richness of sheep's milk, the mouthfeel is very creamy and dense. Flavors are bright and lactic, with notes of grass and hay.
Jensen like to dip carrots in the Natural flavor, spread Cranberry over graham crackers, dollop Pumpkin onto a molasses cookie, and mix Basil & Olive Oil and Tomato & Garlic with warm pasta as a sauce. The Honey & Lavender flavor is good enough to eat with a spoon, she adds.