An Edible Autumn

September gave us beautiful weekend weather, but that last weekend felt glorious.
Maybe it was the company; we hosted an autumn foraging class with guerrilla chef Ben Walmer.

The weather was clear with overlapping hints of summer and autumn that made us tipsy with anticipation to get out into the fields. Ben had everything set up so that when the foragers arrived, we could grab our sacks and clippers and set off down the mulberry lane into the pastures. Starting on the cow path, we talked about wild edibles and their many uses. Just along the fence line we found wild chicory, red clover, crab apples, and rose hips.

Ben gave all sorts of culinary information, while farm staff shared general native horticultural details. We walked along the hedgerows scouting for wild grapes, goldenrod, and young dandelion. Through the pasture around the pond, we picked up windfall black walnuts, while offering our guests some insights into the farm topography and the riparian buffer along the Shippetaukin Creek.

Turning down the main lane, we wandered past shagbark hickory, young pokeweed, chokecherries, and native persimmon, until we got to the rise where we watched our heritage turkeys, ghost white in the field, foraging in pasture with the black Berkshire hogs. Turning into in the lower woodland, we hunted for spiceberries, examining exactly how the berries grew along the stem, to better distinguish them from the myriad other red berries in the woods.

Our pockets bulging with edible flowers, tannic grapes, red berries, and assorted greens, we set off for the cottage yard where Ben served a 4 course small bites tasting of Cherry Grove Farm cheeses and meats with locally foraged edibles. Visit our facebook page for the photo album and menu details!

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