Founded by Al and Desiree Wehner in 2000, Sweet Grass Dairy is steeped in dairy farming tradition. Since their arrival in the U.S. from Germany, successibe generations of Al’s family have been dairy farmers in New York State. However, when Al moved to Georgia to attend college in the early 1970s, the warm winters combined with meeting his future wife, Desiree, persuaded Al to stay.
For the first 20 years of its existence, the property that is now Sweet Grass Dairy was a conventional dairy farm. In the early 1990s, the Wehners attended a seminar at a dairy conference on rotational grazing that changed everything. Inspired by the concept of rotating the herd through different paddocks each day, the Wehners reinvented their entire farm by reducing the number of cows in their herd, investing in irrigation systems, and eventually taking cheesemaking courses in California. This transformed Sweet Grass Dairy into the farm that it is today. In addition, they also acquired a small herd of goats.
Fast forward to 2002, when Al and Desiree’s daughter Jessica and her husband Jeremy began working on the farm. Having left budding careers in food and marketing in 2005, Jessica and Jeremy officially purchased the farm from her parents. Under their ownership, Sweet Grass has expanded its cheese-making operations and has now gained national recognition.
Lil Moo is a fresh Jersey cow’s milk cheese made in the style of Boursin cheese. Lactic fermentation is used to coagulate the milk over a period of many hours or even days.
The resulting cheese has a pale yellow color,. This is as a result of natural carotene present in the grass where the cows are pastured and graze. Lil Moo’s texture is dense but spreadable, almost like cream cheese. It has a mild, slightly sweet-tart flavor.
This is a cheese that can be used in a variety of recipes including spreading on crostini, dolloped on pizzas or blended into sauces. When served on its own with fresh berries, Lil’ Moo can be paired with light un-oaked white wines such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. It can also be paired with off-dry white wines such as Riesling or sparkling wines such as Moscato. For an interesting pairing, try Lil Moo with a floral IPA.