Notes From The Vat

Havilah Reserve at ACS 2019 in Richmond, VA

Howdy cheese friends! Our cheesemakers have returned from their pilgrimage to the American Cheese Society conference in Richmond, VA, and we are excited to move forward with all the information learned and shared. We have lots of new cheese friends too!


Conference sessions covered a wide ranges of topics, from dairy farming and climate change, to courses on physical rehab, how to stay physically safe while milking cows and flipping big wheels of Havilah, to discovering new and exciting cheese pairings, understanding what causes cheese defects, to new research on affinage, and even a behind-the-scenes look at how cheeses are judged in competition.


We are all just about bursting with newfound motivation, and it is always great to see old friends and meet the new, and then taste cheeses from all around the country (even Hawaii!). 


But its great to be home and great to break open new wheels of our own beloved cheeses, so without further ado…..

 

Havilah
These raw milk Havilah wheels are just delicious. These batches have a dense, flakey texture with lots of that wonderful crystallization throughout. Brothy, hearty aromas greet you as you open the wheel, and when you take a bite, you get a wonderfully balanced flavor: beefy, with notes of broiled potatoes and slow-roasted root vegetables, and on the sweeter side, notes of hazelnut, salted caramel, honey, and vanilla. This is the perfect time of year to fall in love with Havilah again. Raw milk.

Oooumammi
Oooumammi is ready to take its rightful place as the star of your summertime cheese board. This cheese is a love child between a vegetal brie and an earthy tomme – the mottled rind on these raw milk wheels is just the beginning of the beauty that is Oooumammi. Underneath that dappled bloomy rind lies a fudgy creamline and a dense center paste packed with flavor. Earthy funky flavors of mushrooms and root vegetables are balanced by notes of salted butter, savory meats, with hints of anise near the finish. Raw milk.

Rarebird
Rarebird batches are always exceptional – they are each made with only the milk of 1 day – a perfect snapshot of the farm and the cows at that moment in time. Our delicious fresh raw milk is formed into small wheels in baskets, and for the next two months they each undergo a delicate washing by hand, which helps to form that beautiful creamsicle-colored rind. This batch is fudgy and creamy, with a texture that just about melts in your mouth with every bite. Flavor starts out clean, with notes of fresh cream and warm, yeasty bread straight out of the oven, and then develops just a hint of grassy funk near the washed rind. And Rarebird always leaves a last sweet goodbye: hints of almond and vanilla dancing across your palate at the finish. Raw milk

Herdsman
These six month old winter Herdsman baskets start off with notes of cultured butter and creme fraiche, lemony citrus, and fresh sea salt, finishing off with hints of toasted cashew, caramel, and a bit of sharpness. This batch is firm and flakey, very versatile – equally great for snacking or for cooking! Raw milk

Toma
In store only this week

This rustic raw milk farmhouse Toma batch boasts a delectable dense texture with an enticingly piquant aroma. Each bite of these wheels is buttery and bursting with flavor – layers of grassy notes atop hints of autumnal fruits and roasted nuts. In addition, there is a subtle minerality running in between all the stronger notes that really ties this flavorful batch together. Raw milk.

 

Buttercup Brie
On sale this week at 20% off in our farm store and at our farmers markets. Made from pasteurized milk.

Toma ready for tasting at the American Cheese Society Festival of Cheese.
Our cheeses found a place at the table among 500 of the best in the country.

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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