Notes From the Vat

Howdy! Picking up where we left off last week: Did you know that every wheel of cheese is an autonomously episodic ecosystem?

Basically, every wheel is like a microcosmic forest, jungle, or meadow…. Things move in and out; paving the way for new species to be able to grow and thrive. But forget the poetics of rinds for a minute and, thinking in a purely anthropocentric way: mold tastes good.

Mold, bacteria, and yeast are integrally responsible for creating the flavors of the various cheeses that we eat. (Not to mention any fermented food/beverage we consume.) PLUS, they’re aesthetically fascinating, never entirely predictable, and they never seem to repeat themselves. They’re our collaborators, we love them, and you should too. 

Anyway, enough workspeak. Give me the cheese.

And here you have it.  Speaking of mold, loads of ripe Mooncakes still on sale. Think mushrooms sauteed in butter and herbs.

Working towards the end of this batch of Trilby, which are also getting amazingly ripe. Think drinking rye on the rocks while eating a ham sandwich at the same time.

Get the Rarebird while you can: Think foie gras without the guilt.

And of course last but not least Bette Davis Eyes. We’ve got three different batches now ready for sale. They range in flavor from young, mild and creamy to bold, funky and peppery. Choose your own adventure.

Trilby: TRILBY! Everyone’s favorite boozy little stinker. (In case you’ve forgotten, Trilby is a small format cheese washed in Dad’s Hat delicious Rye Whiskey and then wrapped up like a precious present in apple brandy soaked fig leaves.) It’s flavor is big, bold, sweet, vegetal, boozy, and complex. Pasteurized milk.

Rarebird: Just a select few wheels left.  First of all, the paste is unctuously buttery… it literally melts in your mouth. AND THE FLAVOR…! Our tasting notes for this one include everything from beef stock and mushrooms to shellfish and broccoli rabe. Every single bite is something different. This is a beautifully complex batch. Raw milk.

Buttercup Brie: None this week, Sorry. Eat Mooncakes instead.

Mooncakes, Mooncakes, Mooncakes! A wilder, limited version of our Buttercup Brie, this bloomy features a smorgasbord of penicillium mold strains in addition to the pure-white that we’re accustomed to. PLUS, we’ve added a dash of vegetable ash mixed with a delicate dusting of smoked paprika in the background. What you’ve got here is the unctuous butteriness of our standard Buttercup plus an intriguingly earthy, mushroomy, vegetal finish. Distinctly cave-y, mushroomy, it’s like going spelunking in a cavern with pleasing mushrooms and sea of butter underneath you. Mmmmm….sea of butter.  Pasteurized milk.

Bette Davis Eyes
A new batch, decidedly better and creamier than the last. Sean continues in heroic efforts to hone in on this lil number. Now for our 2018 resolution: wood shelves! Mad fudgy, gorgonzola-esque, mint garden, and light mineral earthiness. Raw milk.

Available now are petit wheels made in late July. They’re dense and cheddary in texture, with that nutty grassy tang that everyone loves about Herdsman. A little taste of summer to brighten up the impending chill. Notes of candied lemon and horseradish. Raw milk. 

This cheese just gets better and better over the years. Current tasting notes include: butterscotch, broth, grass, caramelized onions, and of course: butter. Raw milk.

As always, get it before it’s gone! Prototypical Toma wheels. Slight paste break-down underneath the beautifully sunset hued rind. Endlessly snackable, crowd pleasing, meltable with a pleasant lemony zip and savory finish. Raw milk.

As always, thank you for your business!

Paul Lawler, Head Cheesemaker

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