Cheese

Melted Cheese Chases the Blues Away

Wintry weather conjures visions of friends gathered round a roaring fire, cooking, laughing and sharing a warm toast. Communal cooking around a hearth is sure fire way to banish the winter blues.

The alpine regions of Europe have given us great traditions of communal hearth cooking. Here at the farm, we love an evening with a tasty raclette.

RacletteScrape

image by rachelinlux.com

 

Raclette is a semi firm meltable cow’s milk cheese that has given its name to a time-honored meal born in the mountains of Switzerland. Historically, Swiss cow herders would take a wheel of raclette with them when moving cows to and from the mountain pastures. Around the evening camp fire, they would place a part of the wheel close to the fire and, when it reached the perfect softness, scrape the melted layer onto bread for a nourishing, warm meal. (The term raclette derives from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape,”)

At the home hearth, a cheese wheel is cut in half or quarters, depending on the number of guests, and placed with its face close to the fire so it begins to soften and melt. The melted cheese is scraped from the wheel onto plates and served, traditionally, with bread, small firm potatoes, tiny gherkins, pickled onions, and cured meats.

In Switzerland, raclette was typically served with tea or other warm beverages. However a dry fruity white wine, such as the traditional Savoy wine, a Reisling or Pinot Gris is also a good match. (Take note that local lore cautions that other drinks, water for example, will cause the cheese to harden in the stomach, leading to indigestion. So they say.)

For the hearth-less, there are small electric table-top grills with small trays for melting the slices of cheese. Generally the grill is placed over a hot plate or griddle that will keep the cheese warm. The cheese is brought to the table sliced, with boiled or steamed potatoes, pickled vegetables and charcuterie. The accompaniments are mixed with the potatoes, topped with the cheese and set under the grill to melt and brown the cheese. Alternatively, slices of cheese may be melted and browned in the trays, then scraped over the accompaniments.

Raclette dining, like fondue dinners, are supposed to foster a relaxed and sociable atmosphere, often stretching over several hours. What better way to beat these late winter blues?

Cherry Grove Farm’s Herdsman makes a good raclette-style cheese. Think of us as you while away the hours in front of the fire.

Spread the Love!

In 2012 we introduced Layla, our bloomy rind Neufchâtel style cheese.  Like true love, Neufchâtel is enjoyable at many stages of
maturation; its flavor evolves from delicate and fruity to strong and salty. That said, we can’t think of a better cheese to showcase for Valentine’s Day! Allow us to introduce Coeur de Fromage (the heart of cheese), our lovely Layla in heart-shaped form created tenderly by hand in small 12-gallon batches.

The heart is actually a traditional shape of Neufchâtel style cheese. During the 6th century, the young women of Neufchâtel-en-Bray offered this cheese to their gallant knights during the Hundred Years War as a token of their affection.

 

We encourage you to keep the tradition alive by offering Coeur de Fromage to your sweetheart!


This beautiful cheese will be available the first week in February. It stands alone as a romantic gesture for any cheese lover! We will also be offering a Spread the Love gift set (available in-store only) including a spade cheese knife and paired with the delectable local chocolates of Donna & Company. So spread the love this Valentine’s season by lighting some candles and setting the table with a robust red wine, some crusty bread, and Coeur de Fromage.


Serve Coeur de Fromage over ciabatta bread, rye bread, or a croissant next to a bunch of concord grapes. Pair Coeur de Fromage with Saint Emilion, Riesling, Chardonnay, Viognier, Gewürztraminer, or a bubbly Champagne for a match made in heaven.

 

Local Super Bowl Snacks!

Gear up for game day with some delicious local takes on classic finger food recipes. We  will be open regular hours (10-5pm) this Sunday, so stop by for some snack ideas!

Super Bowl Super Pop Kettle Corn: Put 3/4 cup Farmer Steve’s Super Pop kernels and 3 tablespoons each sugar and vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Partially cover and cook over high heat, shaking, until the popping stops. Season with salt.

Nachos topped with shredded Herdsman and CGF Whey-Fed Andouilli Sausage

Brie baked in a puffed pastry with sliced apples and local honey from Bob’s Buzzy Bees

Grass-Fed Ground Beef Sliders: Form 1 pound ground beef into 12 patties, 3/4 inch thick. Sprinkle a skillet with kosher salt; cook the patties over high heat until cooked to your liking. Put on mini buns and top with some shredded Rosedale and caramelized onions.


Chili Jack Cornbread Muffins:
Your favorite cornbread recipe with a twist! After baking the muffins, slice of the tops. Then top with some grass-fed chili and shredded Chili or January Jack. Thanks for the suggestion, Brian!

Whey-Fed Pigs in a Blanket with any style CGF sausage links (we like them with hot sausage!)

January Jack and a Recipe to Warm You Up!

For a limited time we are making our newest flavored Jack available at the Farm Store: January Jack! It is seasoned with Tellicherry Peppercorns, Toasted Cumin Seeds, and Turkish chilies. This savory and flavorful cheese is sure to bring some warmth to these chilly January days.

 

 

New Mexican Green Chile Stew w/ Shredded January Jack
by Sam Kennedy 

  • 2 lbs CGF whey-fed pork or grass-fed beef cubes*
  • Water (for blanching)
  • 2 qt chicken stock
  • 1 lb Russet potatoes
  • 1 medium onion in small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 can white beans
  • 3/4 lb Anaheim chilies
  • 1 seeded Jalapeño pepper (some peppers are very hot, so be careful)
  • ¼ c cilantro, stems and leaves, chopped.
  • ¼ c parsley leaves
  • 1/3 lb shredded CGF January Jack

Blanch pork for 6 minutes in boiling water to remove impurities. Skim the surface, drain, and rinse.
Place blanched pork in a large pot, add chicken stock, and simmer covered until the pork is tender, about 2 hours.
Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch dice. Reserve in cold water to prevent discoloration.  
When pork has 20-25 minutes left to cook, par-cook the potatoes for about 5 minutes. Fire-roast the Anaheim chilies, peel and remove the seeds. Reserve. Dice the onions, and mince the garlic. Reserve.

Sweat onions and garlic in vegetable oil. Be sure they don’t change their color!  Add to the pork and stock (once the pork is tender). Add drained potatoes to the pork and simmer for about 7 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. After the potatoes are tender, drain the beans from their liquid and rinse them, add to the pork/potato mixture.
Meanwhile, place the Anaheim chilies, Jalapeño, parsle,y and cilantro in a blender with enough stew cooking liquid to allow for puréeing (about ½ cup). Purée until completely smooth.
Add the green purée to pork stew when ready to eat. Simmer for about one to two minutes.
Ladle into bowls, sprinkle on shredded January Jack, and enjoy!

 

*By choosing local whey-fed pork or grass-fed beef you’re saving half the calories in fat, so you can enjoy the warm and fuzzy feeling of a stick-to-your-ribs meal without the guilt!

A Local Twist on a Classic Soup

Sam’s Onion Soup

Serves 4

  • 2 lbs. Onions
  • 1 head garlic, crushed (Cherry Grove Organics)
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 oz (1 bottle) Dark Beer (Stout or Porter) or Black Style Beer
  • 1/3 lbs. CGF Rosedale, grated
  • 1 baguette (Village Bakery) sliced and toasted
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch Thyme, chopped

Directions

Julienne onions and heat medium stock pot over low heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, and then add onions. Caramelize onions over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic 5 minutes before the onions are done.

After adding the garlic, add 6 to 12 oz beer, depending on taste. Then reduce the volume of liquid by half. When reduced, add the chicken/vegetable broth. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce by 1/4 volume. Add chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle hot soup into oven-safe bowls, place a crostini on top with some Rosedale, and then place under the broiler until brown. Enjoy!

Full Nettle Jack is Grid Magazine’s Cheese of the Month

Philadelphia’s Grid Magazine is featuring our Full Nettle Jack as their cheese of the month! Grid is a free, monthly print publication focused on sustainability issues and initiatives in the Greater Philadelphia area. Here’s what they had to say about Full Nettle Jack :

“This bright-tasting cheese is both vegetal and herbaceous with a kick of vinegary acidity. The taste evokes dill pickles, and would do well as slices on a Cubano sandwich.”

 

Photo by Tenaya Darlington

 

“Steam nettles for 30 seconds, though, and those stingers soften. Boom: you’ve got a nutritious lunch, slightly bitter but reputedly calcium-packed. Perhaps that’s why cheesemakers delved into nettledom: to pair one calcium-rich treat with another. Makes me think that eating nettle cheese is probably a better preventative for osteoperosis than, oh, say…a multivitamin?

Full Nettle Jack (pictured) is made by Sam Kennedy over near Princeton, New Jersey. He’s the cheesemaker for Cherry Grove Farm, a sustainable dairy that supplies so many great wedges to the Philadelphia area. I’m a big fan of his rustic natural-rinded wheels, like this one (or his nutty Herdsman).”

 Thank You Madame Fromage For Highlighting Our Full Nettle Jack Cheese! To Read More On This post Visit Madame Fromage’s Blog.

Check out the full article in Grid Magazing here. Thank you, Grid, for the amazing write up!

A Fair Day at Cherry Grove Farm

Last week our friends at Fair Food Farmstand dropped by! We had a fantastic time giving them a behind-the-scenes look at how we operate on a daily basis, and we even got our hands a little dirty in the process! Fair Food Farmstand carries our farmstead cheeses and a plethora of other farm-sourced goodies at their stand in the Philadelphia Reading Terminal Market. Next time you are in the city, be sure to check them out! Here is what they had to say about their visit to Cherry Grove:

 

Last Tuesday, the boys of Fair Food—myself, Noel and Nate—took a trip to Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville, NJ. We met some very fine folks including Stacey, our lovely tour guide; Sam, the head cheese maker; and Malachy, our former Farmstand cheese intern. Cherry Grove is a picturesque farm of 400 acres, 250 of which are certified organic pasture for their 115 Jersey and Short Horn cows. From these cows comes the sweet milk that produces some of our favorite cheeses at the Farmstand—the Havilah and Toma Primavera being two of our stand-by’s. 

 

Noel, Craig & Nate gear up for the cheesemaking room.

 

Our first leg of the tour was the cheese room and there was action! Sam was scooping, molding and pressing some fresh Herdsman. Malachy was hand-molding some beautiful bloomy rinds. Giant wheels of Havilah were soaking in their salt brine. We checked out their three caves: one for the bloomy rinds (that buttery Buttercup Brie), one for the Havilah, Herdsman and Jacks and a single cave just for the Toma Primavera.  

 

Cheese Curds

 

Next we took a tour of the farm and pastures. Cherry Grove puts a lot of effort into being a sustainable system. We met “the spreader” which is a nifty conveyor belt that recycles the cow manure into fertilizer. We saw “the sucker” which takes the excess whey from the cheese room and pipes it to their 100% whey-fed Berkshire pigs. Their wood fire heat exchanger provides heat and hot water for all of the cheese making and the farm store. The wood comes from local tree surgeons who deliver the wood that they would normally have to pay to landfill—pretty cool if you ask me! 

 

Cherry Grove’s Pastures

 

Lastly we got to spend some time with the pasture-raised chickens. There is no experience quite like harvesting eggs with 1,000 clucking and pecking chickens at your feet on a 95-degree summer day. We had a blast, to say the least! Living in the city, it’s incredibly refreshing to spend time on a farm—so much that we worked for fun! 

 

Aging Wheels of Toma Primavera

 

We wrapped up our tour with a cheese tasting and we were fortunate to come home with treats: our harvested eggs; delicious pork products for ourselves; and a couple of wheels of Toma Primavera (the first batches of the season!) for your enjoyment at the Farmstand.

The folks at Cherry Grove were so knowledgeable, and fun—I am already looking forward to our next visit! In the meantime we’ll keep on enjoying their delicious cheeses and organic veggies down at the stand!

-Craig

 

 

You’ll Love the Aroma of Our Toma!

 

It’s almost time for the return of our most popular cheese! In anticipation of a high demand thanks to our finalist status in the Good Food Awards, our cheesemakers got a jump-start on their schedule and started making Toma earlier this year! It will be cut next week and available in our store and at markets starting Thursday, July 5th.

 

 

 

Even though the recipe for Toma is always the same, seasonality adds for some subtle yet notable variations in flavor, texture, and appearance. These differences occur due to changes in environmental conditions and the diet of our cows. Early spring Toma is made when temperatures are cooler, the humidity is lower, and when the cows are eating hay rather than grass. We feed hay from our own pastures in the winter when the ground is bare and in early spring to supplement the lack of nutrients in early season grasses. Our pastures have been organically certified for 8 years, which means our hay is also organic!

 

 

The first subtle difference you will notice is that its rind is less defined. This is due to drier conditions in the caves and a shorter aging period. Another difference in our Toma made with “hay milk” is that it is a light creamy white paste instead of the deeper yellow Toma of last summer. That is because the beta-carotene found in fresh grass, which normally gives cheese a yellow or orange hue, is absent in hay. Cows are the only animals that don’t digest beta-carotene, so their raw grass-fed milks and cheeses are the only dairy products with the benefit of this added nutrient!

 

 

Using hay milk will also bring about some notable differences in the flavor and texture of our Toma. Early spring Toma has an earthy and lipolic flavor, similar to an aged provolone, and a semi-creamy texture. As the seasons progress, the cows move from hay to grass, and the cheese spends more time aging in our caves, the flavor profile of Toma will become more pungent and tangy, the rind will become more developed, and the texture will only increase in creaminess.

 

 Pairing Ideas:

 

Toma is wonderful paired with Sauvignon Blanc, dry to semi-dry Riesling, Pinot Noir, or Merlot.  It is also fantastic on crackers with your favorite savory marmalade or chutney. For example, the Apricot Jalapeño Jelly we just added to our shelves from Muirhead would be a match made in heaven! Seasonally, our Toma also goes well with honey, bacon, and caramelized onions.

OOH-LAY-LA!

We are excited to announce the release of our newest cheese: Layla! Unlike any other cheese at Cherry Grove Farm, Layla is made in a Neufchâtel style. You may have seen the word “Neufchâtel” in the cream cheese section of your local grocery store and thought, “That’s a pretty fancy name for low-fat cream cheese.” You were correct. Authentic Neufchâtel is actually a bloomy rinded lactic cheese that is the cow’s milk version of the ever-popular goat’s milk Chèvre. Neufchâtel is credited as being Normandy’s first cheese, dating back to the sixth century. It was around even before Camembert and brie. Layla is also the first cheese that our Cheesemaker, Sam, developed to gain his rite of passage from Assistant Cheesemaker to Head Cheesemaker.

In keeping with the theme of “firsts,” Layla is also the namesake of Cherry Grove’s first dairy cow! When Kelly first started this farm, Layla was the first cow that provided him with milk. Consequently, Sam thought it would be appropriate to dedicate his first solo cheese venture to Kelly, his mentor, by honoring Layla’s memory.

 

One of the most interesting qualities of Layla is its mutability. Layla matures 2 to 8 weeks from its “born on date.” Due to such a short aging process, the milk must be gently pasteurized. During the first 3 weeks after its born on date, Layla has a mild and creamy flavor profile, with a flaky texture that melts in your mouth similar to a young Chèvre. Around week 4, the cheese starts to ripen and an age line appears. From there on out, Layla slowly transforms from a mild-mannered young lady into a sharp, salty, mushroomy masterpiece.

Pairing Ideas:

Pair young Layla with champagne, lighter white wines, session beers, or a Belgian Witte. Pair Layla at 4 weeks with Riesling, Pinot Noir, or a Pilsner. Pair Layla at 8 weeks with Cabernet, Syrah, or a good strong IPA. Layla is also delicious with seasonal fruit, especially blueberries and concord grapes.

 


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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