March Comes in Like a Lion…and Leaves Like a Calf.

Late March and into April is calving season on the farm; time when we have lots of babies in the nursery barn. We always get a lot of questions at this time of year, so it is worth revisiting why we farm the way we do.

You may have seen, or at least heard of, inhumane veal-raising techniques. The image people usually recall when they swear off veal, are rows and rows of small white pens housing increasingly large calves. So when you, our friends, visit our nursery barn, don’t mistake our calf pens for veal pens, because you are actually looking at young dairy heifers!

The young ladies in our nursery are milk cows in the making, and will stay in their pens for about three months while they are still drinking milk every day. Once they are big enough, they will join their older peers in the larger calf paddock.

Visitors have asked why we do not allow the calves to stay with their mothers during their early months, and there are several answers to that question.

First, with the youngest calves close by in individual pens, it is much easier to monitor their health, wellness, and growth. When calves are scampering through the fields in a large herd, they are much more prone to illness, injury, and even getting lost (the adventurous babies like to wander)! By keeping a close eye on them, we can thoroughly assess each calf every day.

Second, it is better for the emotional welfare of both cow and calf to separate them immediately after delivery. Whether right off the bat, or after weeks of direct nursing, there will ultimately come a day when the babies must leave their mothers. The separation process is much less stressful if taken care of right away, because the longer cow and calf are together, the more they will bond, and a strong emotional bond makes for a very stressful separation. We prefer for our animals to be both healthy and happy, so we limit this stress by doing a post-partum separation. The proof is in the peace and quiet of our barns at calving time… no bellowing or lowing across pastures, no stress.

Third, bottle-feeding allows us to monitor the calves’ daily milk intake. Calves can be greedy and will drink so much milk that their mothers make themselves sick trying to keep up with the baby’s demands. And in the field, other calves will try and nurse from cows other than their mothers, which can cause the problem of not enough milk going to a more reticent baby. Like all babies, calves need a certain amount of milk to thrive and grow. In the field, we cannot make sure everyone is getting enough food. In the nursery, we are able to ensure that each calf is getting enough milk to grow up healthy and strong, without putting too much stress on their mothers.

And lastly, calves can and will go feral if not in regular contact with people. By handling and socializing with the young stock on a daily basis, we are conditioning them to be comfortable and friendly around people. This will make things much easier, and safer, when we introduce them to the milking parlor in a couple of years.

So when calving starts next month, come visit our nursery and get to know our youngest family members! Find out which will give you kisses all day long, or who loves scratches under her chin. Our farmers know their calves. When you spend as much time with them as we do, you have to.

Pickles and Peaches

Pickles and Peaches Enjoy a Nap

You may have noticed that we are missing a couple of our goat girls. Don’t fret. They are in good hands.

Peaches and Pickles, La Mancha/Saanen crosses, were originally part of our milking goat herd. These rambunctious sisters retired to the menagerie when the goatherd decided to give up milking. They have lived with their mom, Pocket, and Auntie Polly in our little menagerie for quite a long time now. Peaches and Pickles were always a team, spirited and armed with the only horns in the group, they tended to dominate.

Pickles Poking Her Nose About

As the play group aged, most of the goats mellowed. But not Pickles. Pickles (whom you may have identified by her broken horn) was born to rule… everyone and everything. She could be overbearing, and her strength of character (some would say bullying) created some stress with the other animals. I have a big soft spot for that big personality, but with limited space and Pickles need to rule, we decided to try and find a local farm that would take Pickles and her sister, Peaches. Relocating them as a team would make the transition easier. And the smaller, less aggressive critters would settle in to some peace.

We contacted Rooster Featherston, who owns a rescue operation in Hunterton County. Rooster has helped us out with calves in the past. When a calf is born in the wrong season, or we just have too many calves, we look for new farm homes. Rooster has been a big help.

Tundra, the calf born just last month, was in need of a home, so we asked if the two older goats could tag along. Rooster was open to adopting the girls, so Peaches and Pickles relocated with Tundra to Rooster’s Rescue Foundation.

You can like Rooster’s Rescue on Facebook, and learn about adoption and volunteer opportunities as well. We are looking forward to visiting the girls once they are settled.

We will miss our diva goat sisters, but seeing how calm and relaxed the menagerie is now assures us we made a good choice. We will post location information so you can visit the girls soon.

Pickles, Our Little Handful.


Super Bowl Korean Meatballs

Makes: 20 meatballs
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 3 green onions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, for pan-frying

Glaze

  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Garnishes: sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. In large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients except oil. The key to good meatballs is not to over mix them. Just gently combine the ingredients until everything is evenly distributed. Form the mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. In batches (don’t crowd the pan!), brown the meatballs on all sides. Transfer meatballs to rimmed baking pan and transfer to oven. Bake 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160° F.
  3. Meanwhile, in small saucepot, combine all glaze ingredients. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened.
  4. To serve, brush meatballs with glaze and sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds.

Buffalo Deviled Eggs With Bette Davis Eyes Blue Cheese


What’s going to be on your Super Bowl Party table? We thought these buffalo deviled eggs sounded delicious.

Makes: 12 deviled egg halves
Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 10 min

Ingredients

  • 8 large CGF eggs at least 1 week old (older eggs peel more easily)
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons Abe’s Hot Sauce Sauce (in our farm store)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons crumbled Bette David Eyes blue cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon minced celery, leaves reserved for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced carrot
  • 1 small serrano pepper, very thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Bring a large pan of water to a boil over high heat. Cautiously lower eggs into water with a slotted spoon, then lower heat to maintain a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Remove eggs to an ice bath and cool until barely warm (2 to 3 minutes).
  2. Peel eggs fat-end first, rinse, and slice in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks to a bowl without breaking the whites. Choose the twelve nicest looking egg-white halves.
  3. In a bowl, combine yolks, mayo, sour cream, 1/4 cup hot sauce, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons blue cheese, celery salt, pepper, mustard, parsley, and half the cayenne. Mash yolks and mix thoroughly until smooth and evenly combined. Stir in minced celery, and carrots.
  4. Collect mixture to one corner of a large sealable plastic bag. Cut off the tip of the corner and pipe mixture into hard-​boiled egg whites.
  5. Garnish each Buffalo deviled egg with remaining cayenne and blue cheese, and top each with a celery leaf, a few drops of hot sauce, and (for the heat-seekers) a thin slice of serrano.

Reposted from The Buffalo New York Cookbook. Copyright © 2018 by Arthur Bovino. Photograph copyright © 2018 by Arthur Bovino. Published by Countryman Press, a division of W. W. Norton & Company.

Notes from the Vat

Hello friends in cheese! 

Hope everyone has recovered from those tryptophan trips. It’s time to reset those cheese cases and cheeseboards with care and abundance for the holidaze joy!

It a mild day here in Lawrenceville, as our cheese elves enjoy this brief respite from the frigid weather to make a batch of Toma that will ripen for February’s chill. A belated reminder that all our farm elves here at Cherry Grove are grateful for your support this holiday season.

What’s In Our Cases?

OOOOUUMAMMI
Beautiful soft ripened mixed rind tomme/brie hybrid. The paste in most wheels is about 1/2-2/3 broken down, meaning the texture is extremely decadent, smooth and buttery. (Think foie gras minus the baaaad karma.) The flavors and aromas we’re getting from these wheels range from: buttered hen of the woods mushrooms, chicken stock, damp earth, and roasted brassicas. Purrfect with turkey in leftover turkey and cranberry sammies. Raw Milk.

Abruzze Jawn
The supply in the farm store now will last through the holidaze. Get it while you can. Abruzze Jawn is a popular choice for any cheese platter with its sweet and smoky peppery flavors.

Buttercup Brie
Nice supply of our ever-popular winter white brie in the farm store through New Years Eve.Pasteurized.

Herdsman
Nice selection from the 1st week of September. These have some nice creaminess to them, where we like them. Some basket cuts and small rounds for slicing into bite sized wedges and rounds. Great for a cheese plate! Raw Milk.

Harvest Tomme
Speaking of baskets, a wee supply of this one, a variation of Herdsman with ash through the middle. This batch is distinctly cheddar-y, but with a squeeze of lemon & horseradish. Raw MIlk.

Toma
Bright grass milk paste with equally bright fall fruit flavors and a roasted malty flavor on the rind. Beautiful creamsicle colors and a raclette-like texture. Into our August wheels, we should have a nice supply of this through the holidaze. Raw Milk.

Rarebird
As delicious as ever. Come and get this pleasantly funky washed-rind beaut. A soul warming eyeopener for those holiday cheeseboards, with an Old Fashioned chaser. At least that’s how our gathering will play it. Raw Milk.

Havilah and Havilah Reserve
This aged alpine cheese is one of our most popular cheeses, and sales have been so brisk that it will became a truly seasonal cheese. Havilah is only made in summer, when the cows are on grass. Then each wheel ripens over 12 to 15 months before leaving the caves and debuting at market. A few wheels are held and aged to 24 months to become our Reserve. This year, we will sell out of all our 2017 Havilah wheels sometime in early January. So get this cheese board star while you can. A limited supply of Reserve will be released in December. Raw Milk.

Lawrenceville Jack and Jack Reserve
Lawrenceville Jack is a farm favorite showing all the seasonal qualities of our grass fed cows’ milk. A limited number of Reserve wheels will be cut for sale during the holidays. Raw Milk.

Stay dry and afloat during our winter storms!

As always, thank you for your support.

Paul and the team


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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