Jämtland is a paradise for foodies. Numerous of small manufacturers and sellers of cheese, fine meats, herbs, game, wild berries and bread are dotted around the county. Almost every village in this region is home to skilled culinary artisans and small-scale farmers who create the most amazing products and ingredients.
Two of them are Robert and Kristina Åkermo from Oviken Ost. Their farm has been in the Åkermo’s family possession since 1350’s. It is located on the southern ridge of the Lake Storsjön near the city of Östersund in the middle northwest of Sweden. Agriculture has been conducted in the area since the middle Ages and the calcareous and fertile soil of this area offers an excellent environment for growing the crops Robert and Kristina feed their livestock with.
Oviken Ost is a dairy and means ”cheese from the village of Oviken”. In 2002 Robert and Kristina started to produce artisanal cheese and other dairy products from sheep and cow’s milk. Today they supply fine restaurants with suckling lamb and other lamb meat products such as kidneys and sweetbreads. Their cheese is made using only milk coming from their own dairy sheep grazing around the farm and their cow’s milk is purchased from a nearby family farm. All cheeses are made by hand from unpasteurized milk as the raw milk is of the highest quality and they want to retain all its flavor and properties.
Kristina is a veterinarian and Robert an agricultural engineer. Leaving their careers to create Oviken Ost was for them an ideal way to combine interest in animals, farming and passion for good cheese and artisan food. Between 1995 and 1999 they started by making a number of studies in dairies and farms across Sweden and northern Europe.
Unable to find a milk sheep breed with sufficient genetic qualities in Sweden at that time, they decided to engage on their own long term breeding plan. Robert and Kristina began by crossing Nordic ewes with a purebred East Friesian dairy ram and imported also semen from Holland. In 2006 they were able to buy 6 purebred Dutch rams in Finland that weren’t related and crossed them with the Nordic breed. Since 2008 they have been able to start selecting the animals showing the best milking properties, which are to give a good amount of milk with high fat and protein levels. They also need to be good mothers. Their goal is to be able to milk 200-250 ewes giving 500 to 600 liters of milk each, a year.
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