In early 1993, Tom and Nancy Clark purchased a fine old home and 600 acres of rolling countryside on Shaker Museum Road in Old Chatham, New York. Old Chatham is located in Columbia County, tucked between the Hudson River and the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. Experts at Cornell suggested the property might be perfect for a sheep dairy operation.
Construction on the barn and creamery started later that year. The centerpiece of the barn complex is a beautiful restored Shaker barn from the original Shaker community near Albany, New York. The new barns and offices were designed to match the look of the old Shaker barn.
Starting with 150 ewes for breeding to a few East Friesian rams the original flock has now grown to more than 1000 East Friesian purebred and crossbred ewes, making this the largest sheep dairy farm in the United States.
Great cheese is made form great milk, and high quality milk is produced from high quality pasture and from carefully managed and healthy animals. Our fields and pastures are organically managed to produce the highest quality feed for our sheep and for the health of the surrounding streams and creeks. A staff of five employees, assisted by Reggie, our border collie, work seven days a week milking 300 to 400 ewes twice a day. The staff also cares for our newborn lambs, moves ewes to fresh pastures, puts up hay for the winter and keeps the farm impeccably clean.
Although the facilities at the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company are state of the art, the farming is done the old fashioned way, without the use of hormones, routine antibiotics or herbicides and pesticides. We are proud of our farm, and welcome visitors anytime.