Located in the village of Bunus, at the foot of the Basque mountains, we raise 300 black-headed Manech sheep. The farm is located on the border of two of the seven provinces of the Basque Country (Soule and Basse-Navarre). 20 kilometres away is the Aldudes Dairy where part of our milk is processed.
Our 300 Manech sheep, purely local and very rustic, appreciate the mountainous relief and the changing climate of the Basque Country (alternating rain and sun). All this offers a fresh and green grass growth, which they will have the pleasure of grazing every day from October to May, on our 23 hectares of pasture. In November and December, our sheep will lamb and we can then start milking periods until June. In spring, the mountain gradually turns green and, finally, the time for transhumance has come, our sheep are joining the great expanses of our summer pastures!
__Fromagerie des Aldudes__
Established in 1970 in the heart of the historic village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, all its breeders (from black-headed or red-headed Manech sheep) uphold values transmitted from generation to generation: authenticity, the choice of traditional breeding methods, respect for animals and products, the transparency of manufacturing processes and the desire to share the love of their country. Indeed, together, they are fighting for the preservation of a sustainable and just peasant agriculture.
The Cooperative's milk, collected exclusively from its farmers (including Sébastien Astabie), was originally sold to cheesemakers or dairies in the region. But since 2014, with the creation of a cheese-dairy in the Aldudes Valley, it has been making its own cheeses. It now controls all stages of production, from milk collection to cheese sales. The Aldudes Dairy, or Basque Country Dairy Cooperative, offers an Ossau-Iraty, under a specific brand: Aldarri.
Sharing the love for their cattle, Sébastien and the other producers take care of their sheep on a daily basis. They have also chosen to follow the specifications of the Ossau-Iraty PDO, and therefore closely monitor the diet of their Manech sheep in order to keep them in good health (pastures, local fodder, GMO-free cereals, etc.).
Traditional production and a very specific maturing process are at the heart of the cheese's rich and firm texture. In accordance with the founding values of the cooperators, all cheeses are entitled to specific care every week (rubbing, turning, etc.). It is thanks to this that they develop a beautiful natural rind, and reveal the typical aromas of the Basque terroir. Their involvement and spirit of solidarity over many years has paid off as they have been awarded several times a medal at the Concours Général Agricole under the Aldarri brand.