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Fruition Farms Dairy & Creamery

The founder of Fruition Restaurant, Alex Seidel, believes so strongly in locally grown produce, that he founded Fruition Farms in 2009. In 2010 Alex partnered with Jim Warren, and started Colorado’s first artisanal sheep’s milk Dairy & Creamery.

The 10-acre farm, located south of Castlewood Canyon, grows greens, vegetables and herbs for Seidel’s two restaurants and includes a sheep dairy. Partner Jim Warren is the Cheesemaker/Shepherd. The Farm feeds and milks some 120 head of sheep, and then turns the sheep's milk into a variety of delicious Colorado produced cheeses.

JIM WARREN, CHEESEMAKER

WHAT WILL YOUR DAY BE LIKE WORKING ON THE FARM?
I live in Edgewater by Sloan's Lake, so I commute to the farm before the sun comes up. We have 65 plus milking ewes that seasonally need to be milked twice a day, once in the early morning and once again 12 hours later in the afternoon, seven days a week. We produce 4 types of cheeses: A seasonal fresh ricotta, a bloomy rind cheese called Shepherd’s Halo, SheepSkyr, which is a yogurt inspired cheese, and Cacio Pecora, a pecorino style sheep’s milk cheese.

IS THE NEW "SLOW FOOD" AND "FARM TO TABLE" MOVEMENT SIMILAR TO THE MICRO-BREW AND BREWPUB PHENOMENON THAT STARTED IN THE 1980s?
Yes, it's the same concept. We're taking a simple product, lamb's milk, and adding all these variables, from different techniques and craftsmanship to various aging times. It's the same as brewing beer or making wine. In fact we use some of the same type of equipment. As American palates are changing and becoming more educated, you are starting to see more demand for handcrafted foods. It's what the French call terroir - tasting the earth, or tasting the farm. We bring something from us on the farm to your table. From the time the lamb is born, to the time the curd is pressed, there will be a thousand variables that affect the taste, and all of those variables will make our cheese unique.

DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING AS PART OF THE TOURISM INDUSTRY?
I think we're adding to Colorado's tourism product. Slow food and farm-to-table is a lot more than just growing and selling to restaurants. We're taking a raw product and turning it into a handcrafted product, through a process that goes back centuries. We have viewing windows at the farm where we can show and educate people about our animals and our process. And we hope lots of tourists will come to Colorado, taste our cheese and bring it back to where they live so we can develop new markets.

There is a whole new upsurge in gastronomic tourism where the central theme of the vacation is to tour restaurants, try new foods, visit wineries and brewpubs - it's all culinary tourism. Colorado has a rich tradition in that area, producing great honey, lamb, some of the best microbrews, so we hope to incorporate ourselves and our cheeses into that larger mix. We offer a product unique to Colorado. When you set out to make a specific cheese, everything affects the taste - the altitude, water, grass, the grains, the yeast in the air - all of it combines with craftsmanship to make a unique product. You can taste Colorado in our cheese.