Upstate New York has no shortage of picturesque lakes, verdant pastures, and sprawling, craggy hills of green. This lush region presents boundless opportunities to host a healthy, happy, and wholesome family of animals in its folds. These reasons among many more attracted Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan – co-owners, partners, and founders of Nettle Meadow – to Thurman, NY in 2005. Leaving successful careers in law to prioritize their animals and cheese making side-hustle (originally started in 1990), the two purchased their farm and drove across the country from Oakland, CA to start Nettle Meadow anew.
Lorraine and Sheila wasted no time after finishing their 3000 mile trek across the country. “We often say that the sanctuary was developed on day one,” Sheila remembers. Most of their already small herd had developed medical conditions that immediately removed them from production stock. First order of business quickly became converting one of the barns into a retirement home for these goats. Over the years, this retirement home has grown to a village, now housing over 150 creatures who are differently abled, recovering from neglect or malnourishment, or retired from the Nettle Meadow production herd. The Kemp Animal Sanctuary showcases a core ethos of Nettle Meadow Farms: care for their animals above all else. Past the sanctuary and onto the pasture, this ethos holds strong – happy animals make delicious milk, and the artisans at Nettle Meadow churn that cream to gold.
Whether that gold takes shape as a triple-cream goat’s milk button, a sheep’s milk crottin, or a truffle studded tomme, it holds unique flavors imparted by the landscape on which these animals are raised. Nettle Meadow is more than a moniker – stinging nettles line the pastures where the goats graze. In addition to raspberry leaf, garlic, and wild growing herbs fed to all animals on the farm, the goats aren’t bothered by the nettles’ sting and consume them regularly. We love tasting terroir – a sense of place – and Nettle Meadow lets the flavors of upstate New York shine through with pride.
Nettle Meadow isn’t new to our cheese case at Caputo’s. Their flagship cheese, Kunik, recently recognized as one of the 20 best in the world, has been a not-so-secret staff favorite here for years. As we’ve met more of their unique treasures, we’ve only fallen harder for the farm. You can now find beer washed kunik, lavender infused fromage blanc, and maple sweetened treats waiting in the eager hands of our mongers. Each cheese is handmade with attention to detail, thoughtful local inclusions, and a deep loving care for the herd.
From our overlap of ethos to our mutual appreciation for thoughtful, local ingredient inclusions, this is a partnership we’re proud to share. We hope you’ll join us in enjoying these handcrafted specialties soon.