Latest News from the Farm

Putting the Grass in Grass-fed Milk

Dearest Quesophiles,
 
With the cows out on pasture we are really starting to see the seasonal change in our milk. After a long winter, I was starting to forget how great the milk looks when the cows are grazing, beautifully yellow-hued with deep golden cream. The flavor is also fantastic, and since they have been on pasture, I’ve been drinking copious amounts of it with my breakfast.
 
Yes, spring is very much in the air on the farm. The apples are blossoming, the dandelions are going to seed, and there are people strolling the fields as they wander the farm (which is open to visits 7 days a week, btw). The sweet peas and broccoli rabe in our kitchen garden are growing taller by the hour, the garlic has awoken from its winter slumber, and is a few feet tall now. It is certainly an exciting time to be on the farm.
 
Below is a batch of Buttercup in the morning light on day two of production. On the second day Buttercup Brie is carefully salted, weighed, and it’s acid level measured before it is stowed away to begin the transformation from bland curd to buttery, fluffy goodness. 
 
Buttercup Brie, Day Two.

Buttercup Brie, Day Two.

Cheeses of the week:
 
Full Nettle Jack: Spicy oregano and lemon notes shining through from the nettles. Spring and summer wheels 2015. Raw Milk.
 
Buttercup Brie: Limited availability. This batch is from 3/15/16. Notes of cultured cream and buttered button mushrooms.
 
Herdsman: Wheels from November. Nice wheels with creamy farmhouse flavor. 3-4 # baskets too from Sept/October have a really nice piquant quality. Raw Milk.
 
HavilahSept/ October 2014 batches. Caramel, grass, pineapple, hints of hazelnut, lasting, unfolding flavors. These are some really wonderful batches. Raw Milk.
 
Lawrenceville Jack: Our usual creamy grass-fed, mac n cheese buddy. Fall batches, well balanced. Raw Milk.
 
Enjoy your weekend! Thanks for supporting our farmstead cheeses.
Paul

!Ven, Fiesta!

A few years ago “farm to table” was a new concept. It fell under the same category as whiskey bars and latte foam art. And as much as we love a well-curated whiskey haunt, so too have we come to love “farm to table”. The latter has become a way of life, drawing attention to the importance of organic growing, the ecological havoc wreaked by not eating local, and the true treasures in our own backyards. As a farm, we want “farm to table” to keep its momentum. So the question becomes, how? And with so many small farms popping up, how is our approach unique.

For us the answer lies in Farm Dinners. (Though the concept is the same, we’ve dropped “to table” – the term has lost the shiny new appeal it had in its rollout.) Every farm has its own version, but no two farms are exactly alike. At Cherry Grove Farm, we have a beautiful, peaceful property, just far enough off the beaten path to be “out-of-the-way”, but so close to everything that we could throw a stone to hit it. These dinners provide new eyes through which to see not just our farm, but small farming in general. And since everyone who works here is passionate about what we do (and does cool, related stuff on the side), there’s always a conversation.

Now everyone has an opinion about the type of cuisine for these things, and suggestions run from straight-up local to the Middle East, and with so many talented culinarians 12963407_1140513845989600_2944712135190115925_nin the area, the challenge becomes, not choosing the food, but finding someone who can bring local “farm to table” to exotic cuisine, and transport us, if only for an evening, to another place. Shelley Wiseman is that someone: her locality at Tullamore Farms puts her right in our circle, and she doesn’t just dabble in exotics: she was immersed in Mexican culture, living in Mexico for five years running her own French cooking school. It makes perfect sense for her to kick off our Farm Dinner season with “Fiesta Cinco de Mayo”.

Dinner is on Friday May 6, a day late for the holiday, but never mind. And this early in the season it might still be a bit nippy; we’re not worried ‘bout that, either. I am just so looking forward to her pork pozole, a warm stew for a spring night – and to kicking back in front of a roaring fire after dinner. Can you think of a better way to spend an evening with friends? Neither can I.

Join us here.

Wow, tricky spring this year, huh?

In these frosty-for-April temps we had a photographer friend, Albert Yee, out to take some cheese glamour shots. He’s done some incredible work with other farmer friends over the years, and I hadn’t seen him in some time, so it was nice to catch up while I played photo assistant with stacks of wheels and wedges.

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We are working on cheese portrait cards that highlight the profile of our major cheeses with specific pairings to accompany each. These will be great for our wholesale clients to use in the cases or to educate staff. We’ll share more as this project develops.
 
We just attended Philly Farm Fest and it was, as always, a blast! Thanks to all who joined us this for the Curd Convention and came out to support our local farms and artisanal makers.
 
Next on the horizon is Raw Milk Cheese day. Mark your calendars fro April 16th, this  Saturday! Celebrate with us by noshing a caramel sweet-n-savory hunk of Summer 2014 Havilah, or any of our delicious raw milk cheeses. The farm will be full of fun, as we give you a chance to meet the folks we work with, offering mouth-watering local food pairings from Subarashii Kudamono and Le Bon Magot. Tastings from 11am until 4pm.
 
Subarashii Kudamono will favor us with Asian Pear spread, dried asian pears, and a surprise taste. Our friends from Le Bon Magot will bring tastes of their three condiment/accompaniments and a homemade bread pudding using one of the products. As ever, we will supply the delectible raw milk cheeses.
 
I will be leading a cheesemaker’s farm tour at 3:30 on the 16th to celebrate the occasion, if any of you are in the area. http://www.oldwayscheese.org/
 
But down to business:
 
Full Nettle Jack: Spicy oregano and lemon notes shining through from the nettles. Spring and summer wheels 2015. Raw milk. To celebrate spring, Nettle Jack is on sale this month!
 
Buttercup Brie: Limited availability – I can’t wait to stop using that phrase. This batch is from 3/9/16. Hope is in sight friends. The cows were just turned out on spring rye pasture and we resume milking 2x a day next week. Pasteurized milk.
 
Herdsman: Nice wheels from November with creamy farmhouse flavor. A few from Sept/October that have a really nice piquant quality. Raw milk.
 
Havilah:   August and Sept 2014 batches. Caramel, grass, pineapple, hints of hazelnut, lasting, unfolding flavors. These are some really wonderful batches. Raw milk.
 
Lawrenceville Jack:  Our usual creamy grass-fed, mac-n-cheese buddy. Fall batches, well balanced
 
Happy eating! See you here on the farm for Raw Milk Cheese Day!
 
Paul

What is Spring Without Philly Farm and Food Fest?

If you have never been, you have been missing out! The Fest brings together the Delaware Valley’s best food artisans, from cheesemakers to bread bakers to coffee roasters, and the gamut in between.

This year, The Fest’s fifth, is the biggest, and, we think, best it has ever been. Some of the exciting exhibits and programs running on Sunday are (link to details):

Book Signing
Coffee Collective
CSA Pop-up Shop

Curd Competition

The Curd Competion is a cheese festival within a food festival, complete with a cheese bar! Our own Paul Lawler will be cheese-tending.

Grain Exhibit
Kids’ Corral
Local Libations Lounge
PF3 Kitchen

 

We love fest for two reasons. First, who would not like a food festival that brings together the best and brightest in the region? Second, every year we see this community and the people who love it get bigger and bigger. Which makes what we do both meaningful and fulfilling.

Farming is not an easy job. Making quality, handcrafted food is not a simple process. Developing a thriving small business is grueling. Knowing that what you do is appreciated makes the trials worthwhile, and makes the successes that much sweeter.

Come be a part of your local food movement!

Sunday, April 10th from 11am until 4pm. VIP Industry preview from 10am until 11am.

Get your tickets right here.

 

Hello Cheese Fans!

We had a wonderful time at the annual Brewer’s Plate last Sunday. Put on to benefit Fair Food, one of Philly’s premier farm to marketplace nonprofits, it is THE food and drink event of the year in Philly. It was great getting to meet all of our fellow artisan food partners and get to try some really tasty foods and drinks. (We even found some chili with our Herdsman on it from a fellow vendor.)

Our table sampled out our Raw Rodeo Brie, a raw milk Brie with an center of ash, smoked salt, and smoked paprika – pairing it with local Asian pear products from Subarashi Kudamono of the Lehigh Valley.

 

Our latest batch of Trilby is ripening and developing even more nuanced flavor as it ages. I’ve been melting thick slices of it over a potato gratin with bacon and onions for breakfast and it is absolutely amazing. As this warm weather sets in, I’ll begin my search for edible leaves around our farm, for our special leaf-wrapped Trilby. Well into fall last year, I used leaves from the Norwegian Maple that is behind the cottage, but this year I will experiment with the wide diversity of species that we have on the farm.
 
 
We are taking wholesale pre-orders for our next batch of raw milk brie, ready in time for the 2nd annual Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day on April 16th. If you’d like us to come to your cheese counter to help celebrate, let us know because we are not quite booked up yet. http://cheesenotes.com/post/138609811589/raw-milk-cheese-appreciation-dayapril-16-2016 

 

Onto the cheese:
 
Brie: Young batches of regular size. With a limited availability per the usual winter milk supply.
 
Herdsman: Wheels from October and early November. Nice wheels with creamy farmhouse flavor. Baskets return for those that prefer those! Raw Milk.
 
Havilah:  August and Sept 2014 batches. Caramel, grass, pineapple, hints of hazelnut, with a really great texture. These are some really wonderful batches. Raw Milk.
 
Lawrenceville Jack: Our usual creamy grass-fed, mac n cheese buddy. Getting into fall batches.
 
Full Nettle Jack: Spicy oregano and lemon notes shining through from the nettles. Spring and summer wheels. Raw Milk.
 
Trilby: Our local rye whiskey-soused friend is currently available in .50 and 1 lb rounds. Lovely beef, buttermilk and even walnut flavors – and just a fistful o’ funk on that rind. Wonderful to eat plain with spirits or melted on top of potatoes. For those of you who may have had a hard time with the texture/shelf life in the past this batch is more stable than those prior. Pasteurized.
 
P.S. If you know of anyone who wants to begin their foray into the art of fermenting milk, we are still looking for our intern for the season. http://www.goodfoodjobs.com/jobs/76069/cheesemaking-intern.html

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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
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