Newsletter

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! 

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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. 
 

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!

Ten Years of Cheesemaking!

“Dishing Up New Jersey” Locavore Farm Dinner

Friday, July 8th
This summer we mark ten years making aged farmstead cheeses. In that time, we have benefited from the expertise of dedicated farmers moving us to a grass-based model, and fine cheesemakers refining recipes and improving our facilities.

We could think of no better way to celebrate our milestone anniversary than by collaborating with some of our favorite local foodsmiths on a farm dinner, designed by local food artisans for local food enthusiasts.

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John Holl, NJ food journalist and beer enthusiast is a partner in this event, and will be on hand signing his newest cookbook, “Dishing Up New Jersey”, which features many of our favorite local chef’s and food producers (and our dinner collaborators).

Dine garden-side at the farm with:
Chef Renato of 12 Farms Restaurant in Hightstown,
Barbara Simpson of Muirhead Foods,
Marilyn Besner of Wildflour Bakery and Cafe,
Gabriel and Matt Carbone of The Bent Spoon,
David Zaback at Z Food Farm, and
Mikey Azzarra of Zone 7.

The evening will include a four-course chef’s menu, farm tour, book signing, cheese and beer tasting, and time to enjoy warm summer breezes and the nightly sunset. Cherry Grove Farm cheeses and whey-fed pork will be featured. (There will be a prize for most creative place setting!)

Dinner details can be found here.

Teamwork

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Farmers are problem solvers. Naturally thrifty, we save everything because someday we’re going to need it: to fix equipment, retool machinery, or create a new gadget. Getting around to the fixing, after a day in the fields, can be a challenge.

We have been very lucky these past couple years to have a dedicated tinkerer/fixer in Dennis DeVries. When Dennis learned about the farm, it reminded him of childhood memories of working on his grandfather’s Midwest farm. Retired now, the idea of helping out around a farm appealed to his love of projects. And there is no such thing as a farm without a project.

Dennis volunteers his time a couple days a week, working with the dairymen, helping with building repairs, tinkering with machinery, and generally taking care of the “little” things that can really grind the work to a halt when not in working order.

Dennis has done everything from fix a toilet to build a recycling corral, fix a tractor to painstakingly file the individual teeth on a hay baler’s cutting edge. He offers us his ideas, his wisdom, and his need to get things done. We offer him our warm thanks, a return to simpler times, and a place to keep his 4-wheeler.

Together, we make a very happy team.

Our Farm-to-Table Community

Author and Chef, Rachel Weston

Author and Chef, Rachel Weston

Being a part of the community has always been a big part of what defines Cherry Grove Farm. As the farm grows and expands its meat, cheese, and class offerings, we’re also expanding our reach into the community, teaming up with some very skilled, passionate locals.

Rachel Weston is one such local. A talented writer and culinarian, Rachel is the voice behind “The Gutsy Gourmet,” a column for The Star-Ledger, celebrating the people and places that make New Jersey’s food culture so vibrant. Her cookbook, “Jersey Fresh”, was released in May of this year. The collection of recipes and tips for cooking over fifty types of seasonal New Jersey produce is a testament to Rachel’s knowledge of the multitude of thriving farms, CSAs, and local farmers markets that pepper the Garden State.

We’re excited that Rachel is bringing some of that flavor to Cherry Grove Farm with two upcoming interactive farm dinners: Farm Fiesta, on August 29th, and Moroccan Feast, on September 26th. Both BYO dinners will feature demonstrations by Rachel, and hands-on cooking activities, all-in-all a night of friends, family, and food.

To reserve a seat for our Mexican “Farm Fiesta”, click here.
Tickets for the Moroccan Feast can be purchased here.


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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