Farm News

Nereid’s Voyage

As a small-scale, pasture-oriented operation, Cherry Grove Farm works in very close contact with Mother Nature. Her wills and wiles dictate our day-to-day life, and for the most part we exist in harmony, but, now and again, we do find ourselves at cross purposes.

Back in April, a severe thunderstorm rocked the farm one night. Trees went down, power flickered on and off, and the creek spilled over into the marsh. During the storm one of our cows, Nereid, was caught by a large falling tree branch, and knocked on top of an electric fence line with the branch pinning her down. Poor Nereid received a series of shocks overnight, until we found her the next morning when the herd was brought in for early milking. The storm and its repercussions were frightening for all of our cows, but Nereid’s accident was extreme and she showed prolonged signs of weakness and lethargy. With little improvement over the weeks, we feared that she would not recover.

Over the summer months, fed by lots of personal attention and TLC, Nereid made a full recovery — and, was confirmed pregnant!

We are very happy to see our beautiful girl rejoin the larger herd with the other pregnant cows, and eagerly await greeting her new calf this spring. Congratulations, Nereid!

Rarebird Wins Silver at ACS Conference

Cherry Grove Farm is proud and excited to share that our newest farmstead cheese, Rarebird, was awarded a Silver Medal at the 2018 American Cheese Society (ACS) competition in Pittsburgh about three weeks ago.

The ACS Conference is the premier cheese event of North America; Artisan cheesemakers from all over the world gather to meet, learn, and taste the best cheeses being made in the United States and Canada. Rarebird was entered in the Farmstead Cows’ Milk category and was up against some seriously tough competition.

Rarebird is the newest cheese in Cherry Grove Farm’s lineup, after 12 months of fine tuning, our cheesemakers, Paul Lawler and Sean Fitzgerald have honed in on the texture and flavors that we want this cheese to express. Some of you may have tried Rarebird over the last year, as we tweaked and adjusted “the care and feeding” of the cheese to see what it could be.

A washed rind, raw milk cheese aged between 60 and 90 days, Rarebird’s defining characteristic is that it is made with the milk of only one single milking. This ensures not only that the milk is as fresh as possible, but also that the unique tastes and seasonality of the terroir of our Lawrenceville pastures stands out. When mature, the paste has a silky, custardy feel, giving off a whiff of minerally sea cave and a bit of the barnyard.

It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work and care from a small, dedicated group of hardworking people (and cows!) to make real food. And we’re very proud to announce the recognition of our hard work. This silver medal joins three blue ribbons from ACS in prior years.

Our cheesemakers recommend that Rarebird be served at room temperature and paired with Gewurtztraminer, Dolcetto, or a strong dark ale. The next batch should be mature in mid-September.

A Farm-to-Table Journey Along The Spice Route

SAVE THE DATE!

Tell your friends! Saturday, July 21st Cherry Grove Farm will co-host a farm-to-table culinary journey with our neighbors, Naomi at Le Bon Magot and The Agarwals from Pure Indian Foods.

Thirty people will share a 4-course meal that leads us from the Middle East to South-Asia, featuring fresh farm fare and the flavors of the old spice route. The menu will be heavily vegetarian but will include Cherry Grove Farm lamb and cheese.

The evening will begin with a 30-minute farm tour and cocktail hour to include Lychee and Rose martinis, vegetarian pakoras and hummus drizzled with Brinjal Caponata.

The sit down portion of the meal will be 2 entrees and a variety of sides, including Burmese Lamb cooked in almond and cashew gravy, Saag Paneer with farm-foraged greens,  Persian Jeweled Rice, Aloo Gobi with Mutter, and more.

We will end the evening with a few sweet treats and a raw milk Masala Chai.

Registration details to follow soon! Stay tuned!

#alongthespiceroute #cgffarmtofork

Katahdin on parade

Balancing Competing Herds

Our farm sits on 480 acres of land. Sounds like a lot, right? A large portion of that is woodland and wetland. Two sizable sections are leased to Z Food Farm and Cherry Grove Organic Farm, our local organic vegetable CSAs. That leaves about 230 acres to us for pasture land.

A farmer who wants to raise animals on pasture requires a large amount of acreage per animal. Not surprisingly, large animals need a lot of space to find the food they need to thrive. A cow needs to eat 4% of its body weight in nutritious forage each day. A dairy cow requires an even larger percentage to support a calf, and making milk. Pastures must be rested and maintained to support the nutritious greens the bovine herds require. Raising hay for the winter months is also a part of the equation. Good hay is expensive so we try to cut a lot of our own, and that takes acreage away from summer forage, reducing the number of animals we can support. The industry rule of thumb is 4 acres per cow if you also raise hay. (And lets not even get into the winter sacrifice fields.) Smaller critters, like sheep and pigs, can be kept on smaller plots. For example, you can raise 6 sheep on one acre, or 20ish pigs on one acre. But the animals still need to be rotated through the acreage so the grass and forage have time to rest and replenish.

Over the years, we have re-balanced our herds and flocks continuously. With a limited amount of pasture, and a growing demand for grass-fed meat, we have had our hands full determining what animals our pasture can realistically manage. Cherry Grove Farm is primarily a farmstead dairy producing cheese. So, dairy cows are our bread and butter. (Pun intended)

Because we believe in diversified sustainable farming, we raise about 40 pigs each year on 3-4 acres, with lots of room to root and forage. (Pigs consume the protein-rich whey that is a by-product of cheesemaking.) These days, we raise a few more beef than we used to, as the market pushes for that, but we cap it at eight beef per year. Sheep graze grass to its nub, making recovery longer (and problematic in droughty times). Last year we decided to cut back on our sheep production to allow more pasture for raising winter hay.

What can YOU expect to see in our freezer cases? A steady supply of pork and beef, raised here on the farm. Cherry Grove Farm lamb will become a seasonal product. We will be bringing in lamb from a grass-based farm in Delaware to satisfy our lamb customers. The farm we choose will raise sheep the way we have always raised them, on pasture without hormones or antibiotics.

And you can expect lots of cheese… a high quality, farmstead product from our own grass-fed cows’ milk, made by hand and fussed over by our dedicated cheese-making team. Because happy cows make really good cheese.

Cow Parade is Here!

Music by The Jersey Corn Pickers

The Cake Off: An Olde Fashioned Baking Competition

Cheesemaker’s Presentation in Cottage

Jammin’ Crepes and Mama Dude’s Food Trucks

Beer by Flying Fish to help Farmers Against Hunger

Vendors this year include:

  • Cherry Grove Organic Farm (veggies)
  • Mecha Artisan Chocolates
  • Unionville Wines
  • Wildflour Bakery and Cafe
  • Mother Tree Collective’s DIY Body Scrubs
  • Lori Lee Books
  • Pinelands Basketry
  • Get Sharp Knife Sharpening
  • Birds and Bees Farm
  • Tracy Ashcroft Antiques
  • Mercer County Master Gardeners
  • Jessica Yeager, Culinary Nutrition Educator

Cows Parade around 4pm (on cow time)

Bonfire is 5-7pm with s’mores by Mecha!


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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