I was expecting my favorite field trip to be the poultry day but it was actually a combination of the days in the Roquefort area observing sheep and also the Roquefort caves. First, I love long rides. I’m used to them because growing up I did a lot of road trips with my family to national parks and I would just lay in the back and stare out the window as we drove around corners and I was exposed to a new world. The three hour drive to Roquefort reminded me just of this especially because it was in a mountainous region and I love the mountains so much. On Friday, we went to the area to visit a sheep farm which was my second time visiting one. The other sheep farm I’ve visited is the UGA one when I was an animal science major.
This farm was something out of a storybook for sure. The sheep were in a beautiful pasture and the younger ones were in an old barn. The farmer had sheep dogs that he explained he trained until they were about 2.5 years old and then he would use them to herd the sheep mainly from field to field to avoid overgrazing. It made everything better that there were cute dogs at this beautiful place. This farm raised sheep for meat but later we went to an agriculture high school to see the milk side. The high school had a museum that explained in detail the process of making Roquefort cheese. Roquefort cheese is made from sheep’s milk and then once it is made into a wheel, holes are pressed into it and then stored in “caves” in the Roquefort region on tables that are salted to give them even more taste. The wheels are kept in the caves for the molding process for around 3 weeks before being sliced and exported to areas.
My parents really like blue cheese so I actually have had Roquefort cheese before visiting France. After we visited the museum at the high school we got to see their ewes, the female sheep, that can be milked for the cheese making. At both the meat farm and high school everyone on the study abroad was able to pet the sheep and that was a really cool experience. The best part about that was the lambs would lick your fingers. On the following Monday is when we actually went to the Roquefort caves where the cheese is kept and after touring the caves we were able to taste three different types of cheeses they produced there. This was a cool trip because of the scenery but also seeing this French specialty being made.