Meeting at the Cheese and Dairy Products Show 2024 with Baptiste Carrouché, manager of La Ferme de la Tremblaye (78), an agricultural operation and cheese producer founded on the principles of agroecology.

What is La Ferme de la Tremblaye?

It is a dairy farm, producing forage, cereals, cheeses, and yogurts, and is completely energy self-sufficient. The farm is over 50 years old, and livestock farming began there around the 1960s-70s. Very soon after, we started manufacturing and processing cheese. Initially, Saint-Jacques cheese, and then from the 2000s, we wanted to diversify our cheese offerings by setting up a goat barn within the farm. But very quickly, what made us different was our pursuit of self-sufficiency in milk, animal feed, and energy. To be environmentally committed, we installed a wood-fired boiler and an agricultural methane digester, which now allow the farm to be completely energy self-sufficient.

You are a pioneer in agroecology. What are the pillars of your practice?

We have three strong pillars. First, the environment and its respect (respect for the soil, biodiversity), then the respect for animal welfare, and the human being who is placed at the center of this system. For us, agroecology is a very broad concept. It's the translation into agricultural practices of what companies call CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). The idea is, of course, to have diversified and innovative agricultural practices, no tillage, permanent vegetation cover of our soils, the return of hedges and trees to our agricultural parcels to promote biodiversity, but it also involves the diversity of breeds.
Portrait of Baptiste Carrouché.

What do you mean?

For example, in our dairy cow herd, we of course have Prim’Holstein but also predominantly Jersey and Norwegian Red. These are rustic breeds that better utilize the forages we provide them, that rarely get sick, and that produce richer milk than other breeds.

What does this change for the cheeses produced by the farm?

It inevitably contributes to obtaining higher quality milk to make cheeses that are tasty, creamy, and shareable. The Jersey, for example, gives us milk with more than 60 grams of fat per liter and a remarkable protein quality. Ultimately, this allows us to produce very yellow, creamy, buttery, and delicious cheeses. This is also reflected in our yogurts. You get a layer of cream and fat that rises to the top of the yogurt, which naturally results in a product that is more natural, healthier. Can you give us an idea of the range you offer? For yogurt, we offer cow and goat yogurts that can be layered with chestnut cream, strawberry, apricot, and also flavored with lemon, vanilla, all natural flavors in any case. We also have a very nice goat milk range. And for cheeses, we have a dozen different products, whether made with raw or pasteurized milk, in soft-ripened or blue-veined varieties. At the top of the list, we have Saint-Jacques, our historical cheese, which can be sprinkled with sage, adding a lot of freshness and a very vegetal aspect to the product. We also have our well-known blue goat cheese, which offers a good balance between the strength of the blue and the delicacy of goat milk. And then we have a newcomer called Pavé de Paris, a very symbolic cheese for us since we are located in the Paris region. It's a mix of cow and goat milk, with a marbled white/yellow cream aspect that offers a beautiful complexity of flavors.