New Sheep Cheese Producer has Incredible (Food Show) Roots

 Beautiful sheep cheese from Good Shepherd Sheep Cheese, Owingsville, Kentucky

Beautiful sheep cheese from Good Shepherd Sheep Cheese, Owingsville, Kentucky

We're getting it, we Kentuckians. We're getting the beauty and deliciousness and importance of our local foods and food economy.

Evidence: In the few days before I got to the Lexington Farmers Market after a recent trip to New England, three people used their excited voices to tell me about the midsummer Market debut of Good Shepherd Sheep Cheese (facebook), Kentucky's first sheep cheese. By the time of my first post-vacation visit to the Saturday market, lines had formed at the Good Shepherd table, waiting for samples of their earthy, umami-ish cheese.

Good Shepherd produces raw sheep's milk cheese in a French Pyrenees style, aged to perfection. My Kentucky food informants had it right: what a beautiful addition to Kentucky's growing cheese plate.

Sanford Dotson, with wife Colleen, credits the first (2009) Incredible Food Show as a crucial catalyst for launching Good Shepherd. Stellar Kentucky goat cheesemaker and dairy evangelist Susan Miller of Bleugrass Chevre, an exhibitor at that game-changing event, encouraged the Dotsons to become cheesemakers, and sustained her support as they completed the many steps involved in buying land, establishing a flock, meeting regulatory requirements, and learning to make just the right cheese for Kentucky palates.

Adam Dotson (I'm guessing he's related) introduces Good Shepherd in a 2.5 minute video that won first prize (and $2,000) in Alltech's first Farming Film Festival earlier this year. (Savoring Kentucky email subscribers, here's a link to Adam's video, embedded in the post below.)

Theresa Lloyd and Sheila Kenny, the visionary inventors of the Incredible Food Show at Lexington Convention Center and Rupp Arena, intended the Show to turbo-charge Kentucky's local food economy. Good Shepherd's origins there demonstrate the pedal-to-metal impact of this dynamic, well-managed, grand annual "Rally Day" on Kentucky's revving food-and-drink economic engine.

This year’s show will be held on one day only, Saturday, Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. The 2011 Incredible Food Show website is up and ready for your use.

The show will feature the dynamic brother chefs Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, the acclaimed Season 6 champion and runner-up, respectively, of Bravo Networks’ Emmy Award-winning show Top Chef (Season 6 – Las Vegas). The brothers will take the stage in Rupp Arena for two presentations at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tickets for VIP reserved floor seats are $30. Tickets for non-reserved seats are $15. A $10 General Admission ticket is available for kids ages 4-15. Children under 4 will be admitted for free.

All tickets include: · Entrance into The Marketplace, featuring more than 100 exhibitors · Free Kentucky Proud breakfast for the first 300 paid admissions · Culinary seminars throughout the day · Cookbook author meet-and-greets and signings. · Cooking Demonstrations at the Sullivan University Stage · Live taping of “Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs” · Kids Craft Café

Take your tastebuds and your food aspirations to this year's Incredible Food Show, and see what happens. In that atmosphere of complete respect for Kentucky food and its growers and processors, in the climate of connection, mutual support and conviviality that Sheila and Theresa cultivate, see what seeds of new ideas germinate and take root.

And while you are there, look for Good Shepherd Sheep Cheese. They will both exhibit and present a workshop. You can taste this amazing new Kentucky food and learn directly from the Dotsons, receiving the kind of teaching and encouragement that Susan Miller notably offered them two years ago.

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