A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to accompany one of our delivery drivers, Sean, on his route in Sonoma County. The idea was that I would have the opportunity to meet our local customers while learning more about our largest route geographically but smallest monetarily. And of course talk shop with Sean, see if we could come up with any fantastic ideas for 2012. One of the stops we made was at Seana Doughty’s house in Sebastopol to pick up cheeses from her aging room. She is Bleating Heart, a second year cheesemaker with a new herd of sheep and two storage unit/aging rooms attached to her house. Hand made is an understatement.

Seana uses raw (thus the above tracking on when it’s legal, must be 60 days old for US standards) sheeps’ milk from her own herd (last year she was using milk supplied by Marcia Barinaga, maybe my favorite cheesemaker on the planet) to create Fat Bottom Girl and Shepherdista. The girl’s got sass! Love her designer cheesemaking boots, her Mini Cooper and her heart topped cheeses, each design meticulously placed by hand. Notice it on the Fat Bottom Girl below?

Just beautiful. What started as a mistake when she didn’t flip the cheeses quickly enough became a desired trait once Seana named these little bulging bottomed beauties. The rind is lovely, revealing a tender, sweet paste that hints of freshly shelled walnuts and rich cream. Her second sheeps’ milk cheese is Shepherdista which can be a bit more assertive in salt and flavor than the Fat Bottom Girl, in the most pleasant of ways. She also makes a Jersey cows’ milk cheese called Sonoma Toma. Eat them if you can find them!

Rows of Shepherdista

Aging cheeses love humidity!

One aging room surrounded by apple orchards

Not a bad place to spend your day.