Suzanne Sankow will tell you that she learned everything she needed to know about raising sheep by reading books. Now 81, she married into the Sankow family, which has owned Beaver Brook Farm in Lyme since 1917, when the original 150 acres were purchased for $2,000. (An additional 25 acres were added for a payment that was made by cutting witch hazels, and cutting birch to make birch beer.)
Beaver Brook was originally run as a dairy farm, but when the New England milk industry fell on hard times over 30 years ago, the Sankows switched to growing hay and raising beef cattle. In 1984, when Suzanne and her husband, Stanley, took over the farm, they introduced sheep — just two at first, Sherry and Ding.
Today the farm has roughly 600 sheep, which produce more than 2,000 pounds of wool, and eight dairy cows. The farm offers farm-fresh milk, cheese, yogurt and gelato, all made from the milk of the Sankows’ cows and sheep.
Suzanne, a weaver, spinner and knitter, also has seen to it that the farm offers yarn made from the wool of the sheep, knitted goods including sweaters, vests, socks and blankets. Fresh lamb meat is available along with a wide variety of frozen prepared foods to include the farm’s white bean chili, lamb curry stew, Bolognese, chicken pot pie, lamb shepherd’s pie, chicken sausage, lamb sausage and a variety of turnovers.
Visitors are welcomed daily between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Each year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Sankows host a Farm Day which features spinning demonstrations, horse-drawn hayrides and free samples of the farm’s meats and cheeses.