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Fall 2009
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By Linda McCandless ’74

Professor Emeritus Ed Oyer, left, with
Professor Ronnie Coffman

Nancy and Tom Clark share their joy with a lamb and Lauren Osborn ’13, the 2009 New York State Dairy Princess, after winning blue ribbons for their sheep milk cheeses at the NYS Fair.

“Recognition in the cheese world in the United States doesn’t get any better than this,” says Nancy Clark ’62, MEd ’64 and her husband, Tom ’63, MBA ’64. As owners of the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, they are very excited about the prizes their sheep milk cheeses are garnering at major cheese competitions.

For the first time this year, they entered the Dairy Products Competition at the Great New York State Fair, where “Ewe’s Blue,” a pungent, creamy, blue-veined cheese, and “Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert,” a lush, buttery cheese, both won blue ribbons. “Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert” proceeded to garner the Grand Championship of all cheeses entered.

The Clarks’ cheeses also came up big at the annual American Cheese Society competition in August. “Hudson Valley Camembert Square” took a first and “Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert” took a second in the soft ripened cheese category for sheep’s mixed milk cheeses, while their ricotta took first place in the fresh unripened cheese category.

It was a lifelong dream of Tom’s to get back to raising sheep—an activity he had pursued as a young boy. He and Nancy bought 600 acres of rolling farm land in the upper Hudson River Valley, stocked it with 150 sheep, and started the company in 1993. Fifteen years later, with a flock of over 1,000 East Friesian crossbred milking ewes, they run the largest sheep dairy farm in the U.S.

Tom and Nancy are very appreciative of the assistance they have received from former and current CALS faculty including the late Dave Brown, Doug
Hogue, Dave Barbano, and Mike Thonney.

“They have all helped us win the awards,” said Tom.