The sheep farm where milk is processed according to recipes from 300 years ago. “We didn't even have any cheese left”

The Cojanu family transforms the milk obtained from the sheep of their farm into cheese, curd, curd and other specialties according to recipes inherited from the elders. In addition to the success achieved with their dishes, they now open the doors of their barn for the little ones, to get to know the animals and their way of care.

Children love to be around animals PHOTO Cojanu family

The Cojanu family has been raising sheep for 300 years. Their farm is about 5 kilometers from Galati, towards the Zătun pond, close to the Giurgiulesti customs. The more than 1,000 sheep produce more than 80 kilograms of cheese per day in the summer months, and yet they are no longer able to cope with the orders: “We didn't even have any cheese left for us” says Angela Cojanu, aged 32.

Their products are sold all over the country, but they have made a name for themselves even abroad: “We also have clients from Arad and Oradea. When they go to the sea, they call me to prepare the cheese for them, so that they can take it when they pass by. We also sent to England, Italy, Germany. We understood from the customers that they also sent cheese from us to America”reveals Angela.

The secret lies in the old recipes, inherited from the ancestors, which help them make curd and curd as rarely seen in Romania.

“It's the same cheese recipe that we've passed down from generation to generation. This is our asset, through which we always manage to have requests that exceed our production. It is very good and natural. People were skeptical at first, but then they saw the difference from what's on the market. After they tasted our cheese, they remained loyal customers”, says the galățeanca.

In 2023, they gave a kilogram of curd for 40 lei and a kilogram of curd for 20 lei. The prices are higher than what the two products are generally sold for in the market, but the quality and taste are incomparable.

The owners of the barn also make home deliveries for those who cannot get to the farm to buy cheese. They also tried to sell their products in supermarkets, but were offered a price of nothing and gave up.

From this year they want to take cheese production to another level. The Cojanu family plans to produce even more cheese specialties and use photovoltaic panels to further reduce expenses.

The Cojanu family PHOTO personal archive

The Cojanu family PHOTO personal archive

“We need a cold room where the products mature, and there must be a constant temperature and humidity. Because it would cost us too much electricity, we plan to buy solar panels to power the cold room,” explains Angela, who confesses that she never thought she would become a farmer and produce cheese.

Now, after ten years of doing this, he reveals that he doesn't see himself doing anything else. Before she had children, her husband would bale straw in the fields with a tractor, and she would follow him with another tractor, load the bales and take them to the farm.

“I like it so much because we work for us. If I had a boss, I don't know if there was still passion”, Angela says laughing.

“They haven't seen what a real sheep looks like”

The Cojanu family recently came up with an initiative worthy of all praise. From April 2024, they will organize tours of the sheep farm, which will be attended by students and parents from Galati and beyond.

Children will see how animals live, how they are fed and milked, how straw bales are made and how cheese is made. Although there is still more than a month until then, four groups of students have already scheduled to visit the sheep farm near Galati.

The idea came to them because there are more and more children who have never seen a domestic animal or a bird in their life and who think that cheese and other agricultural products are made at the supermarket.

Many little ones have never seen a thousand PHOTO Cojanu family in their lives

Many little ones have never seen a thousand PHOTO Cojanu family in their lives

“I have met children who have never seen what a sheep looks like in real life. That's when I came up with the idea to show them what the sheep eat, to show them the machines and everything else we have on the farm”, Angela tells how it all started.

To make things even more interesting, the Cojanu family thought of organizing a contest for the little ones: the children who answer the most questions related to the visit to the farm will get back the 20 lei they each pay at the beginning of the tour .

The money goes back to each student anyway, but in the form of candies and other sweets, which they will receive during the visit to the sheepfold.

Games in the style of “Survivor”

The tour of the barn will start for the little ones with the hayloft, where the bales of straw are kept with which the sheep are fed, and the part that will certainly fascinate them will be the mill that the Cojanu family owns, where there is also a barn with wheat and corn .

“We produce feed for animals at the mill. We do it according to a recipe that helps to fatten the lambs”,
Angela explained. Students will be able to see up close the press used to make the bales, including the string used to tie them.

They will then visit the stables where the animals eat, the pots where they drink water and the ones where the food prepared on the farm is put for them.

The children will see various animals at the farm PHOTO Cojanu family

The children will see various animals at the farm PHOTO Cojanu family

During the periods when the students visit the farm, the Cojanu family will do two milkings a day, so that the children can see the whole process, starting from the milking of the sheep, which is done automatically, to the transfer of the milk into a stainless steel tank, straining it and cheese production.

“Urda is obtained from the whey of the curd. Let the children see that the cheese doesn't come from God, that we've heard this before, too.” Angela says humorously.

Children will be able to see chickens and ducks, because many of them have only seen them on TV. At the end, they will be able to do what they like best: play. Especially for the little ones, mazes made of straw bales will be prepared and they will have to find ping-pong balls among them.

“It's going to be something like 'Survivor.' The kids are crazy about this stuff,” says the galățeanca. In order to remember whenever they want the unique experience they lived, the Cojanu family will prepare for each one a CD with the recording of the most beautiful moments of their visit to the sheepfold.

The entire cheese production process will be explained to the students PHOTO Cojanu family

The entire cheese production process will be explained to the students PHOTO Cojanu family

“I want the students who come to us to really understand what a farm means, but also working with animals and how to make a naturally obtained product. I think
it's important that they understand how much work goes into getting the cheese, what it means to take care of animals no matter if it's a weekend or a holiday. It's a responsibility similar to raising a child, and I want students to know that. I think they will find out on this occasion what it really means to work, and if they understand that, they will end up well”, concludes Angela Cojanu's plea for work and for cheese obtained like 300 years ago.