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  • Living

An alternative fluffy side of the flock

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019 4:55pm

Story by Siobhan Holliman
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An alternative fluffy side of the flock

Michael Flanagan with his flock of dairy sheep. Photo: Ray Ryan

An alternative fluffy side of the flock

Michael Flanagan with his flock of dairy sheep. Photo: Ray Ryan

THERE is such a thing as ‘pulling a sheep face’. It mightn’t appear in the Oxford dictionary but it’s a grimace that artisan producers Michael and Aisling Flanagan are very familiar with.

Natural yoghurt, goat’s cheese and goat’s milk yoghurt seem to be acceptable and familiar to consumers, but yoghurt made using sheep’s milk, well that results in a face worthy of an Emoji of its own. There you are now, conjuring up an image of person pulling sheep’s teats – stop!
Looking out the window from the family’s kitchen is a picturesque green paddock where several fluffy sheep are grazing but on closer inspection, these aren’t the type of sheep that I was sent chasing in my youth.
The Flanagans’ flock of about 160 sheep, outside Claremorris in Rockfield, provide the main ingredient for Velvet Cloud products but they certainly aren’t hand-milked nor are they the same as the sheep you see in the fields around you. Just as there are dairy cows, there are dairy sheep, but dairy sheep aren’t native to Ireland and there are only a handful of farmers milking sheep in the country. And, sure why would they, you might ask.
Farming and food always go together and when these are mixed with an entrepreneurial spirit, the end result can be interesting.

Read the full feature in this week's edition of The Tuam Herald

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