We Are Shepherds
The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep._ John 10: 13-15
On any given morning from April to October in the early morning fog, a slow moving silhouette of a flock of East Friesian sheep can be seen on the rolling hills and valleys of beautiful Bath
County. Prodded along by Jim a five year old Border Collie. Out front carefully leading the way is one of the three shepherds at In Green Pastures Farm Sanford, Colleen or Jenny
(their daughter). Making their way to the milking parlor for the first of the twice a day milking routine.
Life was not always this hard or this satisfying for the Dotson Family. Less than 3 years ago Sanford & Colleen were living on a half acre lot in a log home while Sanford worked in the fast paced automotive industry looking forward to retirement. Josh and his wife Jeanna were living in an apartment in Georgetown. But retirement wasn’t what God had planned for the Dotsons. After much prayer and soul searching, Sanford & Colleen felt they were being led in a totally new direction. To raise sheep! And then to milk them!! And not only milk them, but make cheese with the milk!!! Everyone thought they had lost their minds. Maybe they had, but they had also found their hearts.
Photo Gallery: Our Farm at a Glance
Within months of making the decision to farm, Sanford had left his job of 17 years and the couple bought a 132 acre farm in Bath County. With very little encouragement from friends and family The Dotsons were beginning to think they had gone crazy. It was about this time that Sanford & Josh met Susan Miller of Bleugrass Chevre at the Lexington Food Show. Susan seemed thrilled at the thought of a sheep dairy in Kentucky and offered encouragement along with news of Kentucky’s 1st cheese making class sponsored by UK at her farm.
Sanford & Colleen soon moved to the farm along with 6 East Friesian bred ewes from Vermont Shepherd. They spent 2010 milking 6 sheep, making small test batches of cheese looking for the perfect recipe to bring out the flavors of the native Kentucky grasses that these wonderful creatures turn into delicious milk. Josh & Jeanna soon joined them on the farm purchasing half interest in the land making this a true family business.
When the first Good Shepherd cheese was aged to 60 days it was time to test it. The Dotsons were very pleased with the taste and texture of their new creation, but this was their first time to try a sheep milk cheese. What would the cheese people say about it. How would the “Foodies” react to this cheese that was made by a couple of newcomers to farming who had no business trying to make cheese. Everyone loved it. The cheese folks, the “Foodies” and even folks like the Dotsons who had grown up eating American cheese. This was a cheese that everyone could enjoy. They realized that they couldn’t have done this on their own. Isn’t God good!