The story of Seal Cove Farm's prize-winning cheeses began in 1976, with two dairy goats named Jill and Heidi. Our herd and our cheese production soon grew. For the past 30 years we've been making award winning fresh chevre, and more recently we've expanded production of aged cheeses such as Olga, a mixed milk cheese, and Pearl, our bloomy rind cheese.
In need of room to expand, in 1996 we established Seal Cove Farm at our present location in Lamoine.
There is a wonderful terrain, with room for our 130 goats to roam
freely, rocks for them to climb on, and a large, airy sun filled barn to
shelter them. We believe happy goats give sweeter milk! In season, we produce about 20,000 lbs of cheese per year. Now we find ourselves needing to expand again. We would like to be able to age 5-10,000 lbs of cheese in a new earth bermed cave.
The environment (also known as terroir) that provides the unique conditions for our cheese begins with the
attention given to our animals, who enjoy a quality of life that is not offered to goats on large corporate farms. For the goats, terroir is sunshine, good clean water and housing, pasture for browsing, and a routine in which they can thrive.
The terroir for our unique cheese includes the sunshine, sea air, mixed
grasses and pine forest of the rocky Maine coast. The construction of an earth bermed cave will allow us to further distill these influences into the subtle
flavor of our cheeses, and meet customer demand for these varieties.
Education and community building are important aspects of our farm. Through the years, we've trained and employed many local and
international staff and interns in animal husbandry and cheese making. The skills the interns acquire on the farm have a far reaching effect on their lives, and hosting them has been a rewarding experience for our family.
We host school groups and welcome visitors to the farm to sample cheese and
learn about how it's made. We strive to use farm raised and local products,
including herbs, fruit and other ingredients as much as possible.
Last summer, we hired a local builder who was eager to try traditional stone masonry to build a wood fired pizza oven using stones from our fields. We're excited about the result and the opportunity it gives us to bring more of our neighbors to the farm. We're planning community bakes in which people can bring their own dough and bake pizzas and other goodies in our oven. We enjoy sharing our bounty with neighbors and those who could use the joy of a warm loaf of bread. In the future, we'd like to be able to offer space in our cave to cheese makers who would like to experiment with aging their cheeses.
The construction of our cheese cave will be similar to the oven- it will be built into the hillside adjacent to our barn and will have a low impact on the environment. By berming this cave, we won't need artificial refrigeration. The facing of the cave will also use stones from our fields.
Risks and challenges
We work hard to maintain good community relationships, be environmentally responsible and manage the land sustainably. Responding to changing markets and variable conditions is a constant challenge for family farms. In the past few years, we've established an on-site farm stand where we sell cheese, local products and gelato made from our milk. Our newly finished outdoor oven allows us to add pizza to our farm to table experience.
We have our site and building plan for the cave ready. Like any project, the construction will require us to adapt to unforeseen challenges, but that's to be expected in farming.
Fall Back, Spring Ahead: Taste for yourself the seasonal difference in the cheese. A unique assortment of two months of cheese: our fall made Olga, Chevrotin and tomme. In the spring, the novueau chevre, Pearl and tomme. (The fall variety will be delivered in December, the spring in April).
Holy Pizza: You and 10 of your friends can have a pizza party around our wood-fired pizza oven. Sample some of Chef Eileen's delicious creations using Seal Cove Farm cheeses. Thank you note and mention on our website and Facebook page included. We'll be happy to work with your schedule!