Newsletter

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.

A Blue Ribbon for Cherry Grove Cheesemaking

Another Blue Ribbon Cheese for Cherry Grove Farm

We are proud to announce that “Abruzze Jawn” was a blue-ribbon winner for Cherry Grove Farm at the 2015 American Cheese Society Conference Awards on July 31,

Customers this earlier this summer were introduced to this meaty, smoky cheese through the farm store and local farm markets.  “A simple Jack recipe allows the quality of the grass-fed milk to shine and creates a backdrop for our seasonal line of flavored cheeses,” said Head Cheesemaker, Paul Lawler. “Our ‘Abruzze Jawn’ is a blend of six different smoked and sweet peppers with green peppercorns that harmonize to give the cheese robust, salami-like flavors.”

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Farmstead cheeses are all about terroir, the unique flavors imparted by the land and forage of a specific place. Fittingly, the name “Abruzze Jawn” also reflects the local terroir. “Abruzze Jawn was named, firstly, because it tastes like salami,” offered Jamie Png, cheesemaker at Cherry Grove Farm, “And secondly, because Jack is short for John, and ‘Jawn’ is short for everything.”

‘Jawn’ is Philadelphia slang for a thing, or anything you cannot recall the word for at a moment. It is also the Philadelphia pronunciation of the name John, of which Jack (as in Monterey Jack) is a diminutive. These cheesemakers know their stuff.

This is the third blue ribbon for Cherry Grove Farm in three years. We previously won blues for our Buttercup Brie and Lawrenceville Jack Reserve cheeses.

Come in to the farm store for a taste, we will be sampling Abruzze Jawn all week!

Fresh Faces on the Farm

‘Tis the season of more milk, more cheese, farmers markets, family picnics, and farm events. A time of year when the farm gets very busy and we look outside the fence for summer help, for the arrival of new faces with a hankering to learn about and work on the farm.

Each year we are tickled to find a fresh crop of young people who are concerned about the food they eat and want to understand where their food comes from. Farms like ours rely on these new faces, fresh enthusiasms and perspectives. This refreshing influx of eager new recruits coincides with the spring rebirth of the farm… new grass, new calves, new lambs, and revitalized energies.

As with any business, continuity is important. We want to our customers to know us. We need to pass along our knowledge and see our summer people come back year after year, learning more about the farm, working in new areas, and passing their enthusiasm on to our customers and the years’ fresh faces.

It’s all a cycle. A pink-cheeked new summer marketeer becomes next year’s returning summer hire who knows the ropes, helps train new people, and passes their confidence on to the fresh recruits.

The bonus for our full-timers who toil year round? We see our farm through fresh eyes every spring and summer.

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Look for our 2015 summer marketeers at the farm store and our farm markets throughout the summer!


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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