M is for Milking Sheep

ABC Wednesday

On Saint George’s day in the village of Asigonia in Crete, the shepherds bring all of the herds down from the mountains to have them milked.

Shepherds milking their sheep

Shepherds milking their sheep

From the other side, it looks just like this:

Five sheep at a time

Five sheep at a time

Then, of course, the milk has to be pasteurised:



Then the milk is given freely to anyone who wants some. The village priest then blesses the herd to keep them safe for the coming year.

Village priest blessing the herds of sheep

Village priest blessing the herds of sheep

Of course the herds are milked every day but then the milk goes to the village co-operative cheese making factory right there in the village.

The village cheese making factory

The village cheese making factory

At the back of the factory is the storehouse for the cheese where it is left to mature. The cheese that they make the most of is the delicious Cretan Graviera. Finally here are the great graviera cheeses stacked high.

Cretan Graviera Cheeses

Cretan Graviera Cheeses

22 thoughts on “M is for Milking Sheep

  1. I really enjoyed this! And my favourite 2 photos are the one of the people’s butts while they’re milking and the one of the HANDSOME (sorry) Greek priest. 😉

  2. this an excellent post, ray – you’ve shown everything important in the ritual of cheesemaking, even the ladies in their smart clothes showing up at the blessing ceremony!

  3. I wonder why sheeps milk isn’t sold regularly, as goats milk is. Of course, here, we drink cows milk more than any other.

  4. Thank you for visiting Belgrade today and allowing me to find your wonderful site/photos. I too especially like the rear-end shot of the milkers, and that very handsome priest.

    I love cheese, and adore Greece that I’ve visited several times, but not Crete yet. My son and girlfriend were just there, and I can hardly wait to go.

  5. hi Ray,
    How could I forget the CHEESe part and Milk for M? Great post you made here Ray, its indeed fantastic 🙂 to see the process of making.

    Thanks for showing welldone(thanks for your visiton my blog)

    JoAnn ;Holland

  6. This is very interesting ! I had no idea how sheep were being milked, and the whole process of pasteurisation and then the blessing of the village priest is also new to me! Thanks!

  7. St. George’s Day, you say? Then that would definitely be my favorite feastday in Crete. I love these sheep of yours, love the sherpherd butts, love the priest, the wheels of cheese, the people!! What a great story.
    I worked a year and a half in the cheese dairy of a big sheep farm in Israel and loved the hard work where everything was while. So you can understand my excitement to see your post.

    And Ray, thank you for your kind words about the moon here, rising over the mystical dark woods. Feedback like that from you is taken very seriously.

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