Farm

When the Cows Come Home: The A2 versus A1 debate

friesian head

For the past year or so, we have been in a transitioning from a pasture-based model, where the cows got some grain during winter, to a 99% grass fed dairy. That is a slow transition. Going purely grass fed is both an adjustment for the cows, and for the farmer, who must monitor his cows to see how they are adjusting, and plan appropriately to grow and harvest enough hay for the winter months.

Cows adjusted to grain give more milk, so our grass fed model requires more cows to maintain the volume of milk needed to make our cheeses. In the name of balance, we decided to introduce a few new cows to the herd; ten hearty Friesians with A2A2 genetics.

What are A2A2 genetics, you ask?

It seems that hundreds of years ago there was a mutation in a gene that changed the nature of the proteins in cows’ milk. Now, this was a long time ago, but over generations this A1 mutation predominated in Europe and the US, while the original A2 cows continued to thrive in Africa and Asia.

Fast forward to today. There are many claims about the digestibility and health detriments/benefits of A2 milk versus A1 milk. Although there are no concrete studies to prove it one way or the other, there is a book, “The Devil is in the Milk” by Dr. Keith Woodford, that has become a bible for believers.

There is, however, anecdotal evidence that cows with the original A2 gene are more hardy, more likely to thrive, in a 100% grass fed environment. These are the original cows, with the more feral genetics, and as a grass fed creamery that has meaning for us. Introducing some A2 genetics into our herd seemed right.

After much googling and visiting, we found a farm in New York State with a herd of healthy, thriving grass fed A2 cows that we felt would be a match for our herd. Our ten debutantes arrived the last Friday of February, pushing into the pole barn to get acquainted with the CGF herd. Our girls lined the paddock fence, craning their necks to see the new arrivals, amidst much mooing, snorting, and sniffing.

The new cows will be kept apart for a while to give them time to acclimate, and when the grass springs again, they will be introduced to our pastures and begin their life at the farm. We expect about 45 calves this spring. We hope you will drop by to visit and say hello to the newcomers.

Note: A1A1 and A2A2 genetics are not, as sometimes reported, breed specific. The A1A1 gene may predominate in certain breeds, but you can find A2A2 Holsteins and A1A1 Jerseys. The only way to know for sure is to test the milk.

Yummy, Gooey, Grilled Cheese with Chef Carmine

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the farm this past weekend to have a grilled cheese sandwich prepared by Chef Carmine and Jeremy! Despite soaring temperatures and threats of afternoon thunderstorms, many showed up to enjoy soup, sandwiches, and a beautiful afternoon on the farm.

 

This past Saturday, Chef Carmine set up his grill cheese-making station outside the Cherry Grove Farm Store. He got to work cutting cheeses, prepping vegetables, including fresh asparagus and juicy tomatoes, and slicing still-warm bread from The Village Bakery.

 

 

Each sandwich was hand prepared using fresh and local ingredients. Customers chose from a selection of Cherry Grove cheeses, Village Bakery bread and Chef Carmine’s roasted vegetables. We got to talk with some customers, and take peeks into their sandwiches! If you didn’t get to the farm for a sandwich, check out a few of the pictures we took. Just a warning though, we guarantee that once you see these sandwiches, you won’t want to miss another grilled cheese day!

 

Don’t just take our word for it though; listen to what customers are saying. Here’s what Melissa, a Carmine’s sandwich novice, had to say about her whole grain bread, Herdsmen and Toma cheese, grilled asparagus, arugula and tomato sandwich.

 

“To start with, it was beautiful. I loved that Chef sliced the bread right there. Freshly baked bread, sliced right on sight! They were fun to talk to, too, while I waited for my sandwich. And they have this secret sauce…whatever it is that they used to butter the bread before grilling was delicious. The cheeses melted and complimented each other into a gooey trifecta of perfect vegetables, cheese and bread. Yum! I’ll be back,” Melissa told us.

 

 

She also admitted that when she saw how big the sandwich was, she thought she’d be able to “just eat half and bring the rest home. No such luck for my husband!”

 

Grilled cheese sandwiches are simple. Bread, butter, and cheese layered together and thrown in a hot pan is not exactly the most complicated recipe. Something magical happens, though, when the butter browns and begins to slowly toast the bread while the cheese starts to melt. When you add deliciously sharp and salty Cherry Grove Herdsmen Cheese and Village Bakery bread to the mix, you get the ultimate in grilled cheese sandwiches. So to everyone who has experienced this bliss, you’re welcome to share your stories on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear your feedback. And newcomers are invited to join us for our upcoming grilled cheese Saturdays, happening each Saturday here at the farm from 11am-3pm all through the month of June! Check back here and on Facebook to find out when Chef Carmine will be cooking next!

 

 

To contact the Chef directly, you can call Chef Carmine Sacchitello at 732-606-7467, or visit his Facebook.

 

Jersey Strong

Jersery cows relaxing in the pasture

This week, if you drove by Cherry Grove on Route 206 you would have gotten quite an eyeful: lean with long, thin legs…big, brown eyes with thick lashes…who are these gorgeous gals hanging out on the farm?

 

Our dairy herd spent most of the week in the front pastures of the farm.  Looking out at them got me to wondering, “does everyone know how great these cows are?”  Whether you’re a community member who likes to see the cows nodding their heads at you when you’re stuck in 206 traffic or a frequent visitor to the farm, there’s probably some information about our cows that you don’t know.

 

Here at Cherry Grove Farm, the cows in our dairy herd are predominantly Jersey Cattle.  The Jersey here references Jersey, England, where in 1786 the States of Jersey began a ban on importing any cows to the island of Jersey to protect and promote the growth of a pure Jersey breed.  That Jersey breed has now become one of the most coveted dairy breeds in the world.

 

Jersey cows are often called the “Queen of Breeds” and “naturally produce the highest quality milk for human consumption,” according to Chaney’s Dairy Barn and the American Jersey Cattle Association.  More than being delicious and creamy milk (perfect for both drinking and making cheese), Jersey milk is one of the most nutritious cow’s milks available.  Jersey milk is 5.5% milk fat, 3.9% protein and 15% milk solids, which makes for ultra creamy milk.  For a comparison, Holstein cows’ milk is 3.5% fat, 3.1% protein and 12.2% solids.

 

The high protein level in Jersey milk is a big help for Sam, our cheese maker.  Protein is made up of amino acids, and those acids allow us coagulate the milk and make curds.*  The high levels of milk fat and solids in Jersey milk help make those curds extra rich and velvety.

 

At this point in the spring season, our herd is enjoying sweet grass and the last of the early spring buttercups that inspire our creamy Buttercup Brie.  If you want to try the result of their grassy gluttony, stop by to try our Buttercup Brie or fresh cheddar cheese curds– both are young, mild cheeses that aptly exhibit the high quality of Jersey milk.   You can pick up any of our cheese at the Farm Store, which is open Thursday through Monday, from 11am to 5pm.

 

And to see the beauty of the cows, you’re more than welcome to come visit the herd and their playful calves at the farm.  We have a daily public milking at 3pm, which all are welcome to attend.  In the farm’s Milking Parlour you’ll see Farm Manager Kelly Harding demonstrate how we milk our cow, process the milk and transfer into our cheese room.

 

 

* Coming soon: if you’re intrigued by this process and want more information, we’ll also be posting about how milk is transformed into cheese!

Name Our Calves-Your Vote Counts!

Be Creative & Come By The Farm Thursday – Monday To Help Us Name Our Future Milking Herd!

Calving season is here and so far we have 7 girls looking for names and milk. Help us by picking names for our 2012 Spring calves, be creative, have fun and everyone’s vote counts! We will collect the votes by Sunday, April 15th and announce the selected names on Monday, April 16th.

The Girls:

Your Vote Counts – Be A Part Of Cherry Grove Farm!

After One Long Day Of Counting The Voted And Making Lists We Have Come Up With A Top 3 Plus The Voters Choice Option For Each Calf. Now We Need You All To Vote Just One More Time To Help Us Narrow It Down To A Winning Name For Each Calf. Use The Photos Above As A Reference Point. Thanks Again For All Your Help!

Calf #201

1. Layla (Our #1 favorite name plus it was the name of the first milking cow ever at Cherry Grove Farm)

2. Jersey

3. Cheese

Customers Pick: Bambi

Calf #202 (keep in mind calf #202 is a baby bull out in the pasture with his mom so we picked from the boy names)

1. Pickle (The winning name by one vote!)

2. Bubs

3. Ice Cream

Customers Pick: Sleepy

Calf #203

1. Taffy

2. Daisy (Winning name)

3. Violet

Customer Pick: Daisy

Calf #204

1. Petunia

2. Mable (this one was close but Mable won by one vote!)

3. Sophie

Customers Pick: Buttercup

Calf #205

1. Sadie (The winning name)

2. Smore

3. Kally

Customers Pick: Brownie

Calf #206

1. Patches (The winning name)

2. Pokadot

3. Tree Branch

Customers Pick: Patches

Calf #207

1. Daisy

2. Charlotte (Winning name)

3. Darla

Customers Pick: Bambi

Calf #208

1. Hersey (Our favorite as well plus it is your top pick!)

2. Sammy

3. Lucy

Customers Pick: Chocolate

Great Job Everyone We Will Be Writing The Winning Names On The Girls Tags So For Years To Come You Can Come To The Farm And Watch Them Grow Up Into Our Milking Herd.


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
MENU