We are off to the American Cheese Society’s annual conference in Richmond for four days of education, awards and cheesy fun! On Friday we will get the final word as to which cheeses stood out to the judges. Keep your fingers crossed for us. And stay tuned for more news!
Salutations, cheese lovers! What an exciting week we had here at Cherry Grove Farm! We just sent out our entries to the American Cheese Society competition, where over 2,000+ cheeses from around the country are judged, and the highest scoring cheeses win awards. (We’ve won several!)
You can see more about the judging process here.
In order to choose our entries, we spent the last week hand selecting the most beautiful wheels from various batches of our cheeses, all of which were then taste-tested and critiqued by our cheesemaking staff, so we could winnow the field to those we are most proud of and feel have the best chance of winning.
In past year’s we have won blue ribbons for our Buttercup Brie, Lawrenceville Jack Reserve, and Abruzze Jawn, and a Silver Medal for Rarebird. Here’s hoping we come home with some 2019 winners!
A tale of two Rarebirds…. The beauty of raw farmstead cheeses is how they vary season to season.
We pulled these two beauties for this last batch tasting to choose ACS entries. You can see just how different this little cheese is when made with summer milk versus winter milk… textures change, flavors change, even the color changes!
Hoping our Rarebird soars this awards season!
Our farm store cases and farm market coolers will be filled with some long awaited returns, and some of our usual suspects!
These little washed rind wheels are a delicious exploration of the terroir of Cherry Grove Farm. This seasonal cheese begins with the milk from our cows grazing lush summer pasture, and then spends its aging time being carefully washed in Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey, which is made from local rye grains in Bristol, just 20 miles from our farm.
A few weeks before the Trilby is ready to sell, we visit a chestnut tree and a fig tree on the farm to hand pick the prettiest leaves, which will be blanched and soaked in that beautiful booze for a few weeks. Once ready, each little Trilby will be carefully hand wrapped for its journey home with you.
Everything about this little cheese, from start to finish, is hyper-local and handmade, making these washed-rind wheels the encapsulation of summertime on our farm and our region. Flavors are funky, boozy, and beefy, with notes of buttermilk and a fudgy-creamy texture. Pasteurized milk.
Ooooumammi is also back and ready to take its place on 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 Ooooooumammi. Underneath that dappled bloomy rind lies a rich creamline and a dense center paste packed with flavor. Earthy, funky flavors of mushroom and root vegetables are balanced by notes of salted butter, savory meats, and even hints of anise near the finish. Raw milk.
These raw aummer milk Havilah wheels, boast layers and layers of flavors thanks to our diverse grassy pastures. These batches have a dense, flakey texture with lots of that wonderful crystallization near the rind. Hearty, stocky aromas greet you as you open the wheel, and when you take a bite, you get beefy notes of broiled potatoes and slow-cooked vegetable stock, plus sweeter notes of hazelnut, salted caramel, and vanilla.
Pairs well with deep flavors like dark berries and plums. Try with Le Bon Magot’s Tomato White Sultana chutney. Raw milk.
Rarebird wheels are particularly special because this cheese is made with the milk of just one day’s milking. Being on the younger side, these little washed-rind wheels are a perfect snapshot of our terrior on that one summer day – the fresh grasses our cows were eating, the weather around us, our dedicated cheesemaking choices – and how each influenced the flavors of our luscious, fresh grass milk.
These wheels have a soft, sweet cream aroma and a dense, palate-coating texture that just about melts in your mouth. The flavors of this batch are simple and clean – wonderful notes of salted butter and fresh baked bread, with a tiny bit of that lovely washed-rind funk near the creamline. At the finish, a tinge of sweetness brings notes of almond and subtle hints of grassiness. Raw milk.
We have two batches to share at markets and in the store this week. We are still finishing late autumn batches of extra-aged Herdsman baskets that start off with notes of cultured butter, lemony citrus, and fresh sea salt, and finish with hints of toasted cashew, and a bit of sharpness, that can be reminiscent of clothbound cheddars. Firm and flakey, these extra-aged batches are very versatile, great for snacking or for cooking!
We also cracked open a large wheel of a Herdsman that was made with local beer added into the paste. Aged in a large format wheel these batches have a rich, creamy texture and bright notes of citrus and sea salt with the tang of hoppy cream. A nice pairing with Eat This tomato jalapeno marmalade or some sweet and spicy Three Monkey Mustard. Raw milk.
Abruzze Jawn Our savory Abruzze Jawn is back! This creamy raw milk jack-style curd is blended with mild red pepper, ancho, pepperoncini, guajillo, pimenton (smoked paprika), green peppercorn, onion, and garlic. Aged 6 months, the smoky sweet spice blend imparts a distinct meaty flavor. Grate over cornbread, or atop your squash soup. Delicious on a grass-fed beef or black bean burger. Addictively spiced, but without heat. Raw milk.
Here is what we are featuring this week in the farm store and farmers markets.
Ooooumami has returned at long last, and we can’t wait to share these wheels with you. This batch is a love child between a vegetal brie and an earthy tomme – the mottled rind on this raw milk cheese is just the beginning of the beauty that is these wheels. Underneath that dappled bloomy rind lies a fudgy creamline and a dense center paste that are packed with flavor. Funky earthen flavors of mushrooms and root vegetables are balanced by notes of salted butter, savory meats, and even hints of anise near the finish. Raw milk.
These raw milk Havilah wheels, made with summertime milk, boast layers and layers of flavors thanks to our diverse grassy pastures. This batch has a dense, almost cheddary texture, with aromas of fresh scallions and roasting meats. Notes of buttered potatoes and slow-cooked brisket make up the savory side, while the sweet side is peppered with hints of salted caramel and toasted nuts. This cheese packs a meal into each bite. Raw milk.
These young raw milk Rarebird wheels are particularly special: because all Rarebird is made with the milk of just one day’s milking, these little washed rind wheels being on the younger side is a perfect snapshot of exactly what was happening on the farm that day – the fresh grasses our cows were eating, the weather around us, and our dedicated cheesemaking processes, and how all of that influenced the flavors of our luscious fresh milk. These wheels have a soft, sweet cream aroma and a pudgy, palate-coating texture that just about melts in your mouth. The flavors of this batch are simple and clean – wonderful notes of salted butter and fresh baked bread, with a tiny bit of that lovely washed-rind funk near the creamline. At the finish, a tinge of sweetness brings notes of vanilla and almond riding atop subtle hints of grassiness. Raw milk.
This batch of extra-aged Herdsman baskets starts off with notes of cultured butter, lemony citrus, and fresh sea salt, finishing off with hints of toasted cashew, and a bit of sharpness, which can even be a bit reminiscent of clothbound cheddars at times. This batch is firm and flakey, very versatile – equally great for snacking or for cooking! Raw milk.
Toma is especially delicious right now. The wheels start out with a funky, almost boozy aroma, but when you bite into this dense and creamy cheese, you are greeted with flavors of fresh yeasty bread with salted butter, hints of sweetness, and undercurrents of grassy notes. The finish is bright and overall these wheels are wonderful! Raw milk.
A summer evening… the wind rustling through leaves, the gently munching cows in tall grass, and barn swallows swooping across the pastures…
There is nothing quite as satisfying as eating a chef’s dinner outside on the farm… meeting the farmers, hearing the love of good food and farming from the man who cooks and the folks who grow and make your food. Sit with friends, old and new, and share a well made meal as the moon rises and the fireflies start their evening dance.
Join us on July 6th when Chef Barry Sexton creates a five-course evening to remember with Cherry Grove Farm cheeses, eggs and meats, and fresh produce from Abe’s Acres. Enjoy a short farm tour, cocktail hour with artisan cheese board, and five grass-fed courses crafted and presented by Chef Sexton of The Rooted Affair.
More details and tickets are available here, at The Rooted Affair’s website…