Cheese Factory Tour & Sheep Shearing in Oamaru – Day 181
Tasting awesome cheese and trying to shear a sheep.
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Today we’re gonna be tasting some delicious cheese and shearing some sheep.
It’s a lovely morning in the tour of Oamaru and we are on a mission. Today we’re going to Whitestone Cheese to taste some delicious cheese. Awesome so this is some of the best cheese in New Zealand made right here in Oamaru so we’re both pretty pumped about it but especially me because I freaking love cheese.
As soon as we arrive at Whitestone Cheese we meet our guide for today who is Pauline who unsurprisingly is from France of course she loves cheese. So we go into the factory tour where we get to look through different windows into the different stages of cheese making process. What we’re looking at right now is the agitating process of the cheese so different size agitators create different types of cheese. We also look into the vat section as well but unfortunately no one is working in that stage today and then we move onto what is Robin’s favourite room which is fermentation room which is filled with rows and rows of blue cheese getting older and smellier.
There’s heaps of information panels all around the room so we could do the tour ourselves but Pauline who was working at the shop just offered to guide us around to show us even more than what the signs are actually telling.
But the tour finishes with a taster because of course it finishes with a taster, it’s a cheese tour it’s the best thing ever. So pauline is giving us tasters of a lot of different cheese that they’re making right here at Whitestone Cheesery, we’re tasting some blue cheese we’re tasting some Camembert, some creamy brie some Havarti, and of course laura and i are treating ourselves to a cheese platter so we can taste even more cheese and round up this tour the best way possible.
And after tasting almost every single cheese that Whitestone is making Laura and I ready to pick our favourite.
So out of all the cheese that we’ve been tasting right now, my favourite was vintage Windsor blue. Creamy harvati. So now we’ve stuffed ourselves with cheese it’s time for us to go shear a sheep. Try and see if I can get some cheese out of it. I’m pretty sure I can.
This afternoon Laura and I have organised something really special. The Owner of the oamaru backpackers has some family farming in the nearby hills and they are farming sheep for their wool. It’s a major industry right here in New Zealand with over 6 sheep per person in the country. It used to be 20 sheep per person but the industry has been declining a little bit lately.
So as soon as we arrive we are witnessing a sheep dog rounding up sheep I think that’s the term because those ones are really woolly and need to be sheared.
In the shearing shed we are meeting Phil the sheep shearer as well as our woolly victims of the day. He’s going to be teaching us all about wool first and then we’re gonna be trying our hand at sheep shearing. That’s going to be a doozy.
That’s much denser…
I had no idea there was so many types of wool. That’s you worse wool.
Yes. That should be…
That’s you best wool. Look at that it’s so shiny. This is going to be an Icebreaker jumper one day. Before after.
We are learning so much about sheep shearing thanks to Phil’s expertise and this is really an industry that we had no idea about.
Sheep shearing actually used to be one of the most important agricultural industries in New Zealand for about 130 years before dairy took the title in 1987.
The sheep are looking pretty nervous in their pens but phil assures us that sheep shearing doesn’t actually harm the sheep in any way and we’re actually surprised how they react once Phil starts giving us a demonstration of how to shear a sheep. They go completely limp and lifeless and just let Phil do his thing.
And Phil is off like a rocket completely making this sheep super bold in fact they have competitions in New Zealand on who can shear the sheep the fastest.
Something tells us that we’re not going to make it look so easy but anyway once the sheep is sheared Phil is putting the sheep into a little runway where it can go back out into the field back outside and then he gives us demonstration of what wool looks like once it has been sheared.
And with that, now it our turn.
It’s no small feet to go after him, Phil made it look so easy that’s incredible. And he did everything so fast as well. I’m already out of breath just trying to drag that sheep out of its pen and then so after I’m trying to hold onto it so it doesn’t wiggle too much. Phil had me putting it right in a relaxing position so the sheep doesn’t mind too much that i’m trying to shear it. Phil is overseeing the entire process but it’s really really hard and as soon as I’m done the sheep is actually escaping me and try to run away where ever it wants which is obviously not ideal we want it to go back to its field.
After my shearing Phil is evaluating my wool and actually is not that happy because I have done so many little stroke I have cut the wool in so many small pieces that it would not be useful for anything else than a rug.
Oh my God that was a disaster but I don’t much better cos now I’m giving this sheep a box cut rather than making it look like sheared sheep. It’s now sporting a beautiful haircut like the Fresh Price of Belair so I think it’s time for Phil to take back the reins and shear a black wool sheep. So like a pro he grabs hold of the horns of this ram and pulls it out of its pen ready for some shearing.
We’re super surprised by how black that wool is and Phil is even showing how successfully he shears the tail of the sheep as well. And after that it goes back into its pen and now we think it’s time for us to have a beer just like all farmers do at the end of a working day.
We’re clearly not cut out for sheep shearing but surely we cannot fail at feeding the animals so that’s our next job on the farm this evening as we go to feed the pigs and feed the lambs.
Oh my God. Aw there you make an amazing sheep dog.
To top up this awesome day we are having a beer with the guys and we’re having an awesome treat. Phil and his wife invite us inside of the house for some pavlova which is the traditional New Zealand dessert it’s the one specialty that you cannot leave New Zealand without trying it’s a meringue cake with heaps of cream and heaps of fruit on top. It is an absolute delight and a perfect end to our lovely day.
He’s having a good time. I’m not sure I’m going to use that one. I think you should.