WITH the days long and warm, wool gathering can be a periodic state of mind. For the Sankow family, though, it is a year-round way of life. They tend nearly 700 head of sheep, turning the wool into sweaters, vests and other knitwear, much of which is for sale at their 175-acre Beaver Brook Farm in Lyme.
Worsted fabrics are just one part of an operation that began in 1917 with milk cows (the sheep were brought into the fold in 1984).
Beaver Brook dairy products include raw milk, ice cream, a velvety-smooth sheep’s milk yogurt ($2 per 8 ounces) and 20,000 pounds of cow and sheep cheeses annually, several of which are made with raw milk and all of which retail for $18 a pound. Among the more popular are an aromatic sheep cheese crusted in lavender and herbs; a sheep’s milk feta; the firm and slightly sour Farmstead; the rich, grassy Pleasant Valley, also from sheep’s milk; Pleasant Son, a nutty Italian-style cheese of cow’s milk; Pleasant Cow, a hearty cheese reminiscent of an aged gouda; and the Nehantic Abbey, sharp, salty and full-flavored.
Also available at the red, barn-sided retail shop are a cucumber, mint and garlic-infused tzatziki dip; a house-made ricotta, seasoned with sun-dried tomatoes and garlic; pesto, made from feta; and a lamb-filled shepherd’s pie ($9 for 24 ounces).
Lamb, which is raised, like the sheep, without hormones or antibiotics, is also featured in a white bean chili; in the Bolognese sauce; and in a lamb stew curry (all priced at $9 a quart).
Or, for the home chef, Sankow’s has rack of lamb ($11 per pound), rib chops ($12.50 a pound), butterflied leg of lamb ($7.95) — even veal scaloppine ($15.95 a pound), trimmed and ready to go.
Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm, 139 Beaver Brook Road, Lyme; www.beaverbrookfarm.com or (860) 434-2843. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.