The protected sheep livestock producing the milk are of the Merino and Entrefino breeds. These sheep, the only breeds accepted by the Protected Designation of Origin “Torta del Casar” have an average weight of around 50 Kg and produce about 75 litres of milk per sheep per year. There are approximately 20,000 heads of cattle.
This cattle, which has traditionally been linked to the specific ecosystem of the geographical area, is very hardy and able to adapt to extreme environments, being perfectly acclimatised to these districts. Although the milk production is very low.
The productive systems of this territory and the land and climatic conditions are based on extensive shepherding. The basic food of the cattle being the rich and nutritive pastures produced by the thin soil, with food supplements of local fodder and grain when necessary. These productive systems, intimately linked to the districts, also contribute to maintaining the ecosystem with its flora and fauna traditionally associated to steppe regions coexisting with a rational exploitation of the area, thus avoiding any radical changes in the ecosystem and favouring a natural balance.
Although all the dairies have maintained their family structure and close relationship with the area as well as traditional manufacturing methods, we are now far from those dairies located in sheep-sheds with no hygienic conditions and doubtfully clean utensils. Tradition and know-how on the one hand and hygiene and cleanliness on the other are two concepts that those under the Protected Designation of Origin have managed to combine perfectly to offer consumers a product that is as natural as it was in the past.
The every day work of each dairy begins with the reception of the milk, an analysis to ensure its quality and the cheese making. Then the control carried out while the cheeses are ripening for no less than two months and finally only packaging and transporting the cheeses that deserve to be called “Torta del Casar” to the most demanding markets