cheese makers

What exactly is “farmstead cheese”?

The folks over at New England CheeseMaking Supply Company like to think of it as the cheese that our Grandmothers made on the back of the stove; “a simple and to-the-point means of preserving milk during the peak of the season when there was a bit of extra milk.”

People are intimidated by cheese. It requires science and math and a heck-of-a-lot of
patience. The end result seems so magical that for the moment its farmstead roots can be set aside and forgotten – that pot of milk set in a warm place, natural bacteria in the milk working on separating the curds (solids) from the whey (liquid).

Modern cheese-making (and modern health practices) no longer allow us to just leave the milk out overnight. We add specific bacteria to get a specific result. We adjust the temperature up or down to produce one cheese over another, but no matter how many subtle shifts in the process, each cheese is still born of milk. Ah, the fascination…

farmers cheesesOur ricotta-mozzarella class focuses on the easiest cheese to make at home: ricotta. We affectionately refer to it as the “gateway” to cheese-making, requiring milk and lemon juice as its sole ingredients. On December 20 we’ll graduate to working with cultures and rennet, paying homage to the grandmothers of yesteryear with hands-on instruction in cottage cheese, basket cheese, and paneer. This “Farmstead Cheese” class will be a grand ole look into the history of cheese, and a reminder of how simple home cheese-making really is.
Join us.

Cherry Grove Farm News – Spring 2012

 

Hard to believe, but our “winter break” is almost over. Every winter, during the cows’ last months of pregnancy, we give them and ourselves a break from milking. We spend January and February recouping, reorganizing and even resting a little.  And now is the time to kick into gear…new calves are being born, their moms are giving milk and we are making cheese again…

The first baby girl of the season was born about two weeks ago. Interestingly enough, her mom was the first baby girl of her own season a couple of years ago.  We were touched by the warm welcome she received (51 “likes” on facebook!). The expecting moms congregate in the barn outside the store and if you’re lucky you can even witness a birth.  The babies are in what used to be the goat barn. Come by and say hi!

Samuel Kennedy, Cheese Maker At Cherry Grove Farm

Sam, our cheese maker announced Friday March 9th as The official first day of cheese making. He’ll start with a few wheels at first and as the milk flow increases he’ll be making more and more…

Jersey Calves 2012 At Cherry Grove Farm

Kelly is training the young cows to get milked. If you come around 3:30 pm, there’s a good chance you will see him in action.The rest of the time he is running around birthing and taking care of the calves.

Soon we and the cows will all settle into the rhythm of another busy season on the farm… hope you can come and share this wonderful experience with us!

Thank You!

Winter time is here. All of our fall time classes are over, our grilled cheese weekends are coming to an end, and most importantly our girls (cows) are pregnant and dried off for the winter months. This means as a farm we get the chance to improve on any projects that are in the works and also a perfect time for our cheese makers to get a little time off. Being a part of a seasonal operation that treads lightly on the animals, employees, and the land, shows all of  us here how things should be.

All nine of us, the staff at Cherry grove Farm, would like to take this time to thank all of the girls (cows) that worked so hard all year walking up from the back fields to give us milk twice a day; to our wonderful loyal customers that stop in once a week if not more to support their local farm/farmer; and to our two very hard working cheese makers who hit their goal this year of making 45,000 pounds of handcrafted farmstead cheese for the surrounding areas.

Happy Holidays & Thank You All For Such A Successful Year!

Be Nice to the Cheesemaker

Take a bite of our Herdsman (it’s best at room temperature, so pull it out of the fridge an hour before you eat); The paste is creamy and the flavor is well-rounded with subtle notes of fresh milk. Now taste the rind (it’s safe… and delicious). What did you taste?
Call us romantics, but we can taste our pasture in the rind. It’s earthy and subtly rustic. We think it tastes like Cherry Grove Farm.
We may be romantics but we’re not imagining here–the rind is indeed unique to our cheeses. That earthy flavor can only be obtained here in our caves.
After the cheese has been prepared and molded, it is placed in the cave to age. This is the stage during which microbes and milk enzymes transform the curd into a delicious cheese and create its outer layer, the rind.
The rind, then, is the part of the cheese that comes in direct contact with the air. It has its own little ecosystem that contributes to the flavor, smell, and texture of the ripening cheese. No wonder the cheesemakers rarely leave that aspect to chance. Some rinds are sprayed with mold (such as Brie) and some are washed with brine (such as Toma and Somerset). Other cheeses are left to their own devices (under the close watch of the cheesemaker) and the naturally airborne mold gets the job done. These rinds are called “wild” or “natural” and it is in them, in the natural rinds, that the pure taste of place shines through.
Each place, like each person, has a unique blend of microorganisms that cannot be replicated and creates a unique rind that  can only happen here, in our caves. You can taste it in all of our cheeses but it shines through in those cheeses with natural rinds, especially in Herdsman. Its mild flavor provide a   perfect canvas to the taste of our place.
And our cheese maker would like to add that the flavor not only captures the place but also the time. “The subtleties of the flavor reflect the change in the grass, in the weather, in the temperature, the humidity, everything…even changes in the cheese maker…” So if you meet our cheesemakers, be nice to them! We only want positive changes in the cheesemakers.



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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