The sixth stop on the Bi-Rite Cheese Trek take us to my home state of Ohio. Many things come to mind when the Buckeye State is mentioned, and fine sheep’s milk cheeses are not on the list. My mom was the first person to mention Kokoborrego Cheese to me – she noticed their stand at her local farmer’s market and asked me if I had ever heard of them. I had not. Most cheese made in Ohio comes from large cheese plants or very small artisan producers, and none of it really makes its way here to California.
Kokoborrego Cheese is one part of Sippel Family Farm, a 77 acre organic farm in North Central Ohio. Ben and Lisa Sippel grow organic vegetables and apples, and raise sheep on pasture. Ben and Lisa purchased the farm in 2004 when they were only 23 years old, and they’ve been making cheese for a handful of years with the assistance of cheese maker Ben Baldwin.
Ben mainly focuses on crafting rustic tomme-style cheeses with raw sheep’s milk – sturdy cheeses that can be matured and sold throughout the year. Morrow is the youngest cheese he makes: a small cube of dense sheep’s milk cheese that’s been dusted with ash. It develops a light, bloomy rind after a week; the flavors are fruity and sweet with notes of green garlic and grass. Morrow is Kokoborrego’s most sought after seasonal cheese – they only make it for a couple of months during the summer. Enjoy it with a glass of sparkling wine on a warm summer day.
Up next on our Cheese Trek is a visit to the ‘Catherdral of Comté’ to select a very special wheel of cheese that will be available in the Markets the first week of August!