Source: Shore News Today
Lambs suckle in a misty field off Route 610 in the Petersburg section of Upper Township, the first generation of a new flock and the start of a new sheep’s milk creamery.
Bill and Barbara Simmerman plan to eventually sell fresh sheep’s milk, as well as drinkable yogurt and ice cream made from the milk. They purchased the land in 2016 and tore down the dilapidated cabin on the site, reusing some of the lumber for the interior of a barn.
They have a milking herd of East Friesian sheep, said to be one of the most productive breeds for milk. Simmerman said he chose the sheep for looks as well, favoring black and white individuals that he said will make good photos for future visitors to the creamery.
The property is also home to two horses, Sugar and Oden, as well as chickens and numerous Boer goats. That breed is typically very easygoing and is usually chosen for meat rather than milk production, but this herd is not planned for either.
Eventually, the Simmermans plan to offer fresh eggs from the chickens and handmade soaps. They’ve also shorn some sheep this year and are discussing a possible market for the wool. They have plans to sell meat to local restaurants, to include a description of the farm and possibly a photo on the menu.
Simmerman said lamb is a necessary byproduct of milking sheep, adding that he treats all of the animals humanely. “We are very animal-friendly,” he said.
It will be about a year before they will be milking the herd. Simerman said it’s already too late for this year. They won’t be set up for that until the next lambing season, which will be next spring.
Simmerman said he is working with the USDA on plans for the farm, including what he described as state-of-the-art facilities for the animals and the handling of the waste they produce. They officially began the farming operation at the beginning of this year.
Simmerman said he spent his career in marine construction, building bridges. After his retirement, the couple lived in Florida and visited their adult sons in Upper Township. As the number of grandchildren grew, they decided to move closer to the grandkids and to launch the farm.
They dubbed the site as Misty Meadow Farm. Simmerman said the members of a local organization have been visiting the farm and volunteering with some tasks. They’ve invited a group of young people with developmental disabilities to visit with the lambs, and plan to offer events and tours starting this summer.
Misty Meadow Farm Facebook Page