Latest News from the Farm

Gratitude… and Farmstead Cheese

Happy Monday!

Hope everyone got a tasty respite from markets, cheese counters and kitchens for some quality friends and family time. I am really grateful to all of you in the food community who support our farm so that we can make magic happen with microbes for a living. I truly can’t imagine doing anything else.  

On that note, here’s our cheese for the week:

Havilah: Wheels from June and July 2014. Grassy, creamed onions, sweet sweet toffee, and even dark leafy green notes in some of these.

Lawrenceville Jack: Breaking into the June wheels. Grassy, mild and creamy. This is for grilled cheeses.

Abruzze Jawn: A limited amount of wheels of our single summer batch available still. Grab and get into this spicy 2015 award winner while you can.

Full Nettle Jack: Full flavored, ultra-buttery, scallion, and spicy rounds from last May.

Brie: Miracles abound, we still have a handful of 10/13 & 10/15 batch brie. They are ripening along nicely. Flavors of browned butter and cream.

Herdsman: We have beautiful basket-formed wheels from last August that are looking just prime for the holidays. More become available as we get further into the holidays. Some with ash in the middle, some without. Piquant, broth-y with a toasted walnut flavor on the rind.

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Before I bow out I’m going to ask you to express a little gratitude for farmstead cheese in action.

The FDA, in their infinite wisdom, has gone off and reduced the non-pathogenic bacteria requirements in cheese from 10,000 to 10. Implementation of this policy would do nothing to improve the safety of raw milk cheese but would be highly detrimental to our growing cheese community.

Please take a minute to look at and sign this petition :

I know how petitions can feel like futile action, but the FDA has backed down in the face of industry reaction in the past so there is reason to be hopeful. Thanks and looking forward to an awesome holiday season with you all!


Rendering Leaf Lard for Pie Crust

The season of celebrations is upon us, and with it requests for leaf lard.

For generations, the best pie crusts were made with lard, or a combination of lard and butter; lard bringing the delicate flakiness, and butter offering great flavor. Then, somehow we got confused about our fats.

lard on a spoon

We all need fats in our diet to properly absorb nutrients. The unprocessed foods we eat are some combination of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fatty acids. Most of the fat in a pasture-raised animal is monounsaturated fats in the form of oleic fatty acid, the same fatty acid found in good olive oil that is so often praised for it’s health benefits. The soft leaf lard found in pastured pigs that our great-grandmothers used for pastry making is this type of good fat.

We sell our leaf lard unrendered, straight from the animal. Rendering lard is not difficult, especially if you know the proper techniques for the stovetop or the crock pot. And it makes a heavenly pie crust.

flaky pie crust



Meet the Judges

The Cow Parade is right around the corner, and with it the first annual Bake-Off. This year’s theme is “cake” (we’re calling it a “cake-off”). The entries have been rolling in, and boy do they look tasty! But no contest is complete without adjudicators, so without further ado, it’s time to meet the judges:

Joanne Canady-Brown
Cannady-Brown is a self-taught baker and owner of Lawrenceville’s Gingered Peach bakeshop, named to honor her grandmother. Open since last July, the shop was an instant success, boasting individual pastries at wallet-friendly prices. This busy lady has a background in restaurant management and marketing, and is a mother of two.

Titus Pierce
Pierce is a US Army Iraqi War and combat veteran, a businessman, and entrepreneur who truly loves New Jersey and all its people. He is currently campaigning for the governorship, and is possibly Cherry Grove Farm’s biggest fan – we found him favoriting our posts on twitter!

Ashley Shaloo
Professor Shaloo is a Jackson, New Jersey native, and one of Cherry Grove’s own. When she’s not taking care of our sheep and chickens, she teaches biology at Georgian Court University and Brookdale Community College. With a PhD in molecular and cell biology, Shaloo is no slouch in the kitchen or the classroom.

If you haven’t signed up for the cake-off, there’s still time. Send your name, email, phone, name and description of your entry to There’s no cost to enter, and you’ll be competing for fame and prizes! 

A Word from our Cheese-maker

We are in the midst of a round of fall calving. The milk supply is inching up just in time for bigger batches of brie for the December holidays and big batches of spring farmers’ market Jacks. The cows are grazing on loads of radish greens, which makes a surprisingly sweet milk for such a peppery, robust vegetable.
While you anxiously await that Brie availability (not this week folks, next sell-able Brie 11/8), meet Sputnik (on the left) and her buddy Diana (goddess of the Moon). They were hopping about on their new legs outside the milking parlor path this morning. Cuties, eh?
new babies
BUT unto the cheese:
Havilah: Working through the end of spring 2014 whees and into the grassier, July batches. Can’t get over these July 2014 production batches. Lots of those pasture Havilah flavors, pineapple and citrus on the nose, then a flavor that ranges from mown summer grass, mustard to sweet toffee. A lot going on here.
Herdsman: 7.20.15 batch Same as last week. Bright sunshine, lip-smacking lemon yogurt tang. A friend to apple chutney, ham and fall picnics.
Nettle Jack
It’s usual spicy, zesty self chock full o’ flavor. Loads of batches from last spring and summer.
Lawrenceville Jack: Mustardy, grassy, creamy, oniony – what can I say, it’s spring pasture based Jack; from last May.

Happy eating!

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1902 - Family purchased farm

1910 - Leased land to dairy farmer

1987 - Hamill Brothers inherit farm

2002 - Started as a family business

2003 - Started a beef herd, laying hens, and pigs

2004 - Added sheep and attained organic certification of pasture land

2005 - Added dairy herd and began making fresh cheeses like mozzarella

2006 - Built aging caves and began making aged cheeses

2012 - Grid Magazine’s Cheese of the Month (Nov – Full Nettle Jack); Finalist at the Good Food Awards (Toma)

2013 - Won 2 blue ribbons from the American Cheese Society(for Buttercup Brie and Lawrenceville Jack Reserve); Added second cheesemaker

2014 - Broke ground on additional aging space and began process of getting AWA certification for our chickens