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Rich, Smoky Ham Hocks and Collard Greens

Braised collards in rich pot likker (pot liquor), simmered with smoked pork and onions until everything is meltingly tender, is a classic Southern dish. Don’t discard those braising juices, either—sip, slurp, or sop them up.

 

Why It Works

  • Simmering the ham hocks until the meat falls off the bones creates a deeply flavorful broth.
  • Chicken stock adds even more flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) meaty smoked ham hocks (see note)
  • 2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound; 450g), sliced into 2-inch lengths
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 quarts (1.9L) homemade chicken stock, low-sodium store-bought chicken broth, or water
  • 3 pounds (1.3kg) collard greens, woody stems trimmed and leaves cut into thick ribbons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Apple cider vinegar, to taste (optional)

Directions

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine ham hocks, onions, garlic, and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook at a bare simmer until hocks are very tender, 2 to 3 hours.
  • Remove ham hocks from liquid, transfer to a cutting board, and pull bones from meaty and fatty parts. Discard bones. Chop up meat into chunks and return it to pot.
  • Add collard greens, pressing down to submerge in liquid. Return to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until collards are very tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar to taste, if desired, then serve. (You can add vinegar to the pot, or let individual diners season their greens with it at the table.)

 

Notes

You can swap out the ham hocks for other smoked or cured pork products, like slab bacon or salt pork, as long as they aren’t lean meats, like smoked pork loin. Lean meat will dry up and toughen with extended cooking.

Taken from Daniel Gritzer and Serious Eats

Notes from the Vat

We have a new friendly face in the makeroom! Meet intern extraordinaire, Christine Shaw. 
Here’s a bit of Q&A before we get down to business:

Tell us about yourself!  I was born and raised in central New Jersey, and my greatest loves are food, animals, and books of all kinds. I graduated from The Culinary Institute of America back in December, and now I’m thrilled to be exploring cheesework on such a beautiful farm!

What do you enjoy most about the farm or the cheesework so far?  I love being in such close proximity to so many animals. It’s wonderful being able to pet the cats on my walks to and from the creamery, feed the goats my vegetable scraps, and hear the cows mooing from my bedroom at night. It all feels very peaceful. As for the cheesework, I love affinage! It’s a great opportunity to sort of study each wheel and watch it develop as it ages.

If you could be any Cherry Grove animal, who would it be?  The guinea hen! She’s beautiful, and her only job is to wander around the farm. It sounds like a pretty good deal!

Favorite cheese?   That’s a tough question. There are so many cheeses that I love, but Brie has a special place in my heart.

Favorite Cherry Grove Cheese?  The Trilby! The flavors are unbelievable. Our farm’s terroir, the Dad’s Hat whiskey, and the fig leaves all come together and create these amazing apricot and hay notes, and I just love it.

Thanks for joining us, Christine. Speaking of Trilby, we have a gorgeous batch of Trilby this week.

This Week in CHEESE! CHEESE! CHEESE! 
Buttercup Brie
Tastes like it sounds, like pure cultured butter. With a slight hint of mushroom under the rind. Mini ½ lbs and quarter wedges. Pasteurized.

Havilah
Batches from early spring/summer 2016 with notes of malt, beef stew, mushroom, and toasted brioche. Nice balance of sweet and savory. Raw.

Toma
Limited availability, batches from early August. Beautiful pinkish orange-shaded wheels, nice and beefy, roasted peanut and cashew flavors. Perfect for melting or snacking. Raw.

Trilby
Limited availability, from early September. Beautiful pinkish orange shaded wheels, nice and beefy, buttermilk, stonefruits, grass and hay- and a lovely butter texture. An ideal fall dessert with Seckel or Asian Pears. Pastuerized.

Herdsman
A really nice batch from July milk. Barnyardy, notes of bread n butter, walnuts, and cultured cream. Raw.

Grass-fed Veal Sale through August

Sharing a recipe for a grilled rack of veal in honor of our August sale (20% off our Grass-fed Rose Veal). Get it while it lasts.

 

Grilled Porcini-Rubbed Rack of Veal

Serves 8

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup porcini mushroom powder (from about 3/4 ounce dried mushrooms)
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
    • 1 (5–6-pounds) six-bone rack of veal, chine bone removed (not frenched)
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • Flaky sea salt

Special equipment:

    • A spice mill or a mortar and pestle

Preparation

  • Prepare grill for medium–high, indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off). Coarsely grind red pepper flakes in spice mill or with mortar and pestle. Combine ground red pepper flakes, porcini powder, sugar, kosher salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  • Rub veal all over with oil, followed by enough spice mixture to coat nicely (about 1/2 cup), patting to adhere.
  • Grill veal over direct heat, turning occasionally, until deeply browned all over, 15–20 minutes total. Move veal to indirect heat, placing bone side down, and grill, turning every 20 minutes or so, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of loin registers 115°, 1 1/2–2 hours. (Check after 30 minutes—once thermometer registers 100°, the temperature will climb much faster.) Meat will continue to cook when taken off the grill, so pull 10° before finishing temp.
  • Transfer veal to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Cut loin from the bones in one piece. Slice between bones to separate and grill over direct heat, turning often, until crisped and well charred, about 5 minutes.
  • Grill loin over direct heat, cut side up, just to reheat slightly (do not grill the cut side), about 4 minutes. Slice loin 1/2″ thick and transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with bones alongside.

Finishing Temps

  • Rare — 120F
  • Medium Rare — 125F
  • Medium — 130F
  • Medium Well — 135F
  • Well — 140F

Just remember, if you like your meat more on the medium to well done side, make sure you turn the heat way down to allow the meat to cook slowly. Your patience will be rewarded.

Do Ahead

  1. Veal can be grilled 2 hours ahead. Do not cut meat from bones; hold at room temperature. Grill over high to reheat, about 4 minutes, before finishing as directed above.

 

Bon Appetite June 2015, Chad Colby

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. 
 

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.  

IMG_5645

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

IMG_5644

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.

IMG_5691

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!


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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