Latest News from the Farm

Notes from the Vat

A new face can now be seen in our cheese caves! We’d like to welcome Malachy Egan, who will focus on affinage and wholesale sales with Paul. Malachy worked on the farm eons ago, and has worked with DiBruno Brothers most recently. And now he takes over Note From the Vat, the cheesemakers’ weekly news.

Greetings! 

As Paul mentioned last week, I’ll be taking charge of the wholesale side of things at Cherry Grove going forward. I was actually a cheese room assistant here many moons ago, so this is something of a homecoming for me. I’m looking forward to talking to you all over the coming weeks and months about the exciting stuff happening here in our little green slice of Lawrenceville. 

Even though production has shut down while we renovate our creamery (new floors!) that doesn’t mean our work has ceased. Still flipping, wrapping, cleaning to be done in the aging rooms. Also, tasting! We’ve got an exciting new tomme courtesy of cheese maker, Sean Fitzgerald. Based on a Corsican tomme recipe -using our high fat Jersey cows milk instead of sheeps milk- this little pudgy washed rind is a breath of fresh spring air. We’re calling it ‘Rarebird’ and it sports a custard-like texture in the paste and a vegetal snap towards the rind. Excited to share this limited selection with you! 

rarebird

We’ll be exhibiting at the Philly Farm & Food Fest on April 8th! It is one of the country’s biggest and best single-day food festivals and a great way to kick off the Spring season. Now in its 7th year, PF3 focuses on local farmers, artisans and regional experts in the agricultural and processing fields. Come see us at the VIP Industry Preview Hour or throughout the event. Admission is free for credentialed buyers! See more info here.
 
As always, we welcome your questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks for your business and have a great weekend!
 
 
Cherry Grove Farm Cheese Availability – Week of 3/27
 
Please note: Buttercup Brie is still another few days away from readiness, so we’ll have to wait another week. In the meantime, still a bit of the Mooncakes and Raw Rodeo Brie to see us through. Full list below…
 
Rarebird
The thrush alone declares the immortal wealth and vigor that is in the forest… Whenever a man hears it he is young, and Nature is in her spring; whenever he hears it, it is a new world and a free country, and the gates of heaven are not shut against him.” – Henry David Thoreau 
Washed rind tomme. Pudding like texture with notes of hazelnut and wild asparagus.  ***LIMITED STOCK*** Raw.
 
Mooncakes Buttercup
Our classic brie but with a bit of wild blue/grey mold mingling on the fluffy white rind. The flavor is bright with notes of citrus peel. Pasteurized.
 
Raw Rodeo Brie
Lovely layered effect in the paste with a more acidic, lemon cake surrounded by a gooey mushroom-y exterior.  (Because this is raw milk you’ll find a multi-hued, mottled rind rather than the typical bone white of the typical buttercup). Raw.

 
Trilby
Beefy and pungent. Washed in Dad’s Hat Whiskey. Dense and creamy – fudgier texture than usual. Pasteurized. 
 
Herdsman
Surprisingly high moisture baskets from last September. Firmer, sharper full wheels from October. Raw.
 
Toma
Pretty sunset colors on the rind, this is an ideal batch! Grab it while you can. Raw. 
 
Havilah
Tastes range from caramelized onions and bone marrow to brown sugar and brioche. Batches from Summer 2015. Raw. 
 
Abruzze Jawn
Back for a limited time! 6 months old. Tastes like a cheesesteak – seriously. Raw. 
 

Notes From The Vat

Greetings one and all!
 
Hope everyone weathered our sole winter storm well. I am certainly ready for real spring and looking forward to changes, like that really big, key change, cows on grass again.
 
Speaking of, next week two momentous things are happening; A) we are going out of production for about a week while we redo our flooring to improve food safety and reduce water use, and B) you’ll start hearing a new voice in cheese, as we’ve hired an awesome Affinage and Wholesale Sales sensation… Di Bruno Bros alumni… drumroll… Malachy Egan!
 
This will allow me more time with the cheese (whoopee!), which will be critical as we grow, and more engagement with you, our amazing patrons, from Malachy. But more on that next week. 
 
Here’s our lineup for this week:
 
I know a lot of you are wondering when standard Buttercup Brie will be back in action. I was looking for this week but I’m afraid we will have to wait one more week as the wrapped batch matures. 
 
Mooncakes Buttercup: As some of you know (and hence the reason Buttercup Brie has been unavailable) we had some errant blue mold in our white mold brie aging room two weeks ago. What we lost in our Buttercup Brie pipeline we gained in this one-off variation! As pictured below, these wheels are speckled or coated on one side with a wild blue that, mixed with the white mold, may also appear green/gray. Under this mixed mold rind you have the classic Buttercup texture, flakey touch at the center with a gooey outer buttery layer.  The flavor is a bright spotlight unto spring, a compound butter of orange essence with a hint of rhubarb. Pasteurized.
 
mooncakes brie
Raw Rodeo Brie: Some of these ripened with a pretty layer cake effect with a more acidic, bright lemony, flakey core surrounded by ripening exterior. Because this is a raw milk, bloomy rind, aged over 70 days, you are going to see a variety of yeasts and mold on the rind, not just the pure white of our standard Buttercup Brie.We have one more small batch of these for you all.

Trilby

: A delicious beef n’ buttermilk washed rind profile, pretty sunset rinds. Denser texture than the prior batch, a stick to your ribs lingering creaminess (think Crottin or Sulles Sur Cher, curd nerds). Pasteurized.
 
Herdsman: Surprisingly high moisture, barnyardy baskets from last September. 
Firmer, sharper full wheels from October.
 
Toma: Pretty sunset orange hued colors, this is an ideal batch! Grab it while you can.
 
Havilah: Ole faithful, and for good reason! A spectrum that ranges from beef stew with caramelized onions, to roasted squash to caramel and toffee. Batches from Summer 2015. Perfect for this colder weather.
 
Abruzze Jawn: Back in action for a limited time! Get your fill of our cheese as cured meat curiosity while it lasts. 6 months old.
 
We still have some of our experimental blue cheese, the precocious Bette Davis Eyes in the farm store!
 
That’s all folks. Looking forward to your business as always. 
 
Paul

Expanding Our Local Commitment!

Have you seen our new “wing?” It’s small, but every square foot we can devote to our local food community counts.

In January, a survey went out through our newsletter and FB page asking for feedback from customers about our farm store and what other foods we might offer. We’ve had our own ideas brewing, but customer feedback cemented a plan to knock down a wall and create a little more space.

Blink, And It’s Done.

But construction is disruptive, right? And we have a business to run. How do you knock down and rebuild walls, and open up an old barn ceiling without disrupting customers? With a lot of planning, and a good construction partner.

So, the first Monday in February, we started preparing for change.

Graeme prepping the store.

Graeme prepping the store.

Tuesday, while the store was closed, we started demolition, knocking an interior wall down, ripping down the drop ceiling, disconnecting old plumbing, salvaging wood panels for reuse, and putting up a plastic sheet wall so the store could reopen on Wednesday.  

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Looking into the store through the old framing, soon to go.

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Beams match the store! No sanding required.

Wednesday, the new space was framed out (with a small private office for Paul), beams were scraped and cleaned, wood paneling was re-cut and re-used, and electric was re-mapped. Now, we had more light from the 3 windows added to our floor plan. Now, we could see the newly exposed old beams…

Thursday was to be the big finish and clean up, but we had a snow day. To stay on plan, Oliver Hamill, our fearless leader, came in and painted the new space inside the store so we’d be ready to show off the new wing as planned.

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Fresh paint and a recycled wooden panel wall.

Friday our regular customers found us placing shelving, re-organizing, re-merchandising, and spreading out into our new wing. It will take us some time to fully “move in” and use the space to its full potential, but for now, we are enjoying the light and the elbow room.

In time, we plan to add two additional freezer cases to better display our whey-fed pork, grass-fed lamb, beef, and seasonal rose veal. The extra space will also allow us to bring in pasture-raised roasting chickens and more prepared foods, like locally-raised heritage duck, locally-made pastas, pasta sauces, soups, and …. (you tell us!).

We hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures of the expansion. Come on into the store to see the finished space!

News From The Vat

Hello folks!
 
It’s been a week of thrills at Cherry Grove Farm. We passed an exhaustive 3rd party audit with flying colors (whew), received some cider lees to wash cheese with from our friends at Three Springs Fruit Farm, and visited a new brewery with a lot of ambitions less than ten minutes from the farm. 
 
 referendvisit  The Referend Bier Blendery in Pennington, N.J. was quite the sensory experience. Lots of great smells and tastes in rooms full of wooden barrels aging beer. Sean and I sampled quite a few, one with a particularly complex aroma, that reminded me of our own honey, with notes of jasmine and honeysuckle, had been aged in a whisky barrel. James Priest runs the place, and his goal is all spontaneously fermented beers. We look forward to collaborating on a project soon and in the meantime encourage you to try out his tasting room!
 
Speaking of encouragement, you can taste that lees-washed funky number, if you come out to High Street on the 28th for a Ploughman Cider dinner. Check out the menu : http://highstreetonmarket.com/menu/#test
 
Anyway, back to the old cheesers, Cheeses of the Week:
 
Buttercup Brie: Young but tasty, very buttery 1/16 batch living up to the Buttercup name. Thicker, jumbo 2#+ wheels available upon request for those who like that layer cake ripening effect. Mini Camembert rounds available too. Average wheel 1.50# right now. LIMITED as we begin to feel the effects of the winter milk supply. 
 
Havilah:  May 2015 batches  Bright citrus aromas, brothy herbal notes, and sweet, burnt caramel abound. A great friend to drinks that accompany the dark days of winter: heady trappist ales or Brit style old ales, spiced winter ales, those highly tannic Piedmontese reds, or anything with the brown spirits like an Old Fashioned.
Herdsman: Very flavorful, piquant early October and September batchs. A versatile pairing partner for wines, beers and an array of cured meats. 
Toma: 1st batch of Toma to be matured in our newly refurbished aging room. A very nice looking, pleasing cheese. Buttermilk notes with a piquant edge.
Wild at Heart: We still have a limited # of wheels from this experimental bloomy batch.
Custardy, eggy, brothy notes. Brie size (1.50#) rounds, Little rounds (.20-.30) w/a smatttering of ash and smoked paprika on the rind.
 
wildheart
Happy eating and enjoy your weekends, friends in cheese!
 
Paul Lawler
Head Cheeseman

Snow Day! Closed all day!

A wet snow is falling and everything is coated in a chilly stillness. Snow is supposed to continue into early afternoon.

Flights are cancelled, speed limits have been dropped on the area highways and bridges, heavy equipment will be out clearing the streets. On the farm, snow days can be a little harder on the animals, especially with wet snow and mud. Our farmers will be tending the herds and flocks, then digging the farm out from under.

Snowfall with sheep

Snowfall with sheep

To keep everyone safe and get the work done quickly, we will CLOSE ALL DAY (updated). e will see you tomorrow at the normal time, 10am to 5pm.

Thanks for your patience.

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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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