The Towri Sheep Cheeses property is on 300 acres of rural land at Allenview, near Beaudesert. Towri, the only accredited artisan boutique dairy and cheese room in Queensland, began life when Carolyn Davidson wanted to make cheese for her family and friends. One thing led to another and the farm grew larger than she’d anticipated.
It is now home to 350 much-loved sheep, including the Awassi, the East Friesian and the Assaf milking breeds, and the Dorset and Dorper for fat lamb production. Farming sheep runs deep in Carolyn’s blood, having been raised on merino sheep country in Western Queensland.
Carolyn’s award-winning cheese is available online and Carolyn posts to anywhere in Australia. Towri also offers farm tours and cheesemaking classes for groups.
It all started off as a hobby….
Carolyn Davidson… Then my husband made the mistake of saying there was a shed available over at our turf farm — because we own Jimboomba Turf — and, he said, we needed to get rid of the shed and bring it over here for my sheep, not realising I only wanted to milk about twelve sheep, just enough to make cheese for us.
So, once we got this monstrous great shed over here — that took twelve months to erect, I might add — I had to fill it. Ha! That’s how it started. That was at the end of 2004. It started as a hobby, but, saying that, sheep are in both my husband’s and my DNA as we’re from generations of merino breeders. My family is still in merinos. It is in my blood.
When I decided I was going to make cheese, it was never going to be goat or cow; it was always going to be sheep. I don’t like the smell of goats and everybody does cow cheese, so, you know … I’ve always been a bit different.
Do we think sheep milk is better for you?
You want the facts? Three times the protein, one-and-a-half times the calcium, a lot higher in all minerals and vitamins, and very high in short-chain fatty acids, which means it lowers your cholesterol. There’s sheep milk and buffalo, and they are very good milks for us. It is also easier to digest, which comes down to the fact that it is so high in protein and short-chain fatty acids. Anyone who is really lactose intolerant can 99.9% handle sheep milk cheeses.
We make all sorts of cheeses, and every cheese has a sheep name. We make drained yoghurts — or normal yoghurts — which we call our Eweghurt. Our fetas, which are our Bar Jars. Then we go on to our Woolly White, which is a French-style white mould cheese. And along with that we do a lot of side cheeses like our lavender, which is our Lavendewe, and our TruffleDewe, which has truffles in it — an ash cheese.
You always ash cheeses to tone the cheese down, but we don’t do it for that reason. We do it because we want a black sheep. We’ll call it a black sheep if it is ashed. We don’t need to tone the flavour of sheep cheese because, as you know, it is quite a mild cheese.
Cheesemaking workshops are also offered at Towri — If you are looking for a country experience that’s not too far out of the way, a morning at the Towri Sheep Cheesery is for you (by appointment only).
A morning consists of a milking demonstration, substantial cheese tasting, tea and coffee, and access to the cheese room to learn about the basics of sheep cheese making from cheese maker Carolyn Davidson, and discuss the differences between sheep, cow and goat cheese. Cheese schools are conducted every 2nd Wednesday of the month at Towri to help you master the art that is cheese-making.
Join us for a day and learn how to make your own cheese. We can cater for personalised groups – or if it’s just you, book to join another group. To ensure individual attention, groups are kept to a maximum of 10 people. With specialist instruction from Carolyn Davidson you will have your own hand-made sheep cheese to take with you at the end of the day, along with a cheese mould and recipes for you to practice your new-found skills.
Towri Sheep Cheeses can be purchased online, at the farm and at major food festivals.