Farm News

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!

Notes from the Vat

We have a new friendly face in the makeroom! Meet intern extraordinaire, Christine Shaw. 
Here’s a bit of Q&A before we get down to business:

Tell us about yourself!  I was born and raised in central New Jersey, and my greatest loves are food, animals, and books of all kinds. I graduated from The Culinary Institute of America back in December, and now I’m thrilled to be exploring cheesework on such a beautiful farm!

What do you enjoy most about the farm or the cheesework so far?  I love being in such close proximity to so many animals. It’s wonderful being able to pet the cats on my walks to and from the creamery, feed the goats my vegetable scraps, and hear the cows mooing from my bedroom at night. It all feels very peaceful. As for the cheesework, I love affinage! It’s a great opportunity to sort of study each wheel and watch it develop as it ages.

If you could be any Cherry Grove animal, who would it be?  The guinea hen! She’s beautiful, and her only job is to wander around the farm. It sounds like a pretty good deal!

Favorite cheese?   That’s a tough question. There are so many cheeses that I love, but Brie has a special place in my heart.

Favorite Cherry Grove Cheese?  The Trilby! The flavors are unbelievable. Our farm’s terroir, the Dad’s Hat whiskey, and the fig leaves all come together and create these amazing apricot and hay notes, and I just love it.

Thanks for joining us, Christine. Speaking of Trilby, we have a gorgeous batch of Trilby this week.

This Week in CHEESE! CHEESE! CHEESE! 
Buttercup Brie
Tastes like it sounds, like pure cultured butter. With a slight hint of mushroom under the rind. Mini ½ lbs and quarter wedges. Pasteurized.

Havilah
Batches from early spring/summer 2016 with notes of malt, beef stew, mushroom, and toasted brioche. Nice balance of sweet and savory. Raw.

Toma
Limited availability, batches from early August. Beautiful pinkish orange-shaded wheels, nice and beefy, roasted peanut and cashew flavors. Perfect for melting or snacking. Raw.

Trilby
Limited availability, from early September. Beautiful pinkish orange shaded wheels, nice and beefy, buttermilk, stonefruits, grass and hay- and a lovely butter texture. An ideal fall dessert with Seckel or Asian Pears. Pastuerized.

Herdsman
A really nice batch from July milk. Barnyardy, notes of bread n butter, walnuts, and cultured cream. Raw.

Take A Walk On The Wild(er) Side.

Take a walk into the pastures with one of our farmers and learn about grass-based sustainable farming and the making of delicious farmstead cheeses. Hint: it all starts with the pastures! We’ll cover the history of the farm, and why we started farming the way we do now.


Public Pasture walks are one hour long and cover all sorts of uneven ground. Wear appropriate footware and long pants, as we could be in long grass, wet ground, and all kinds of hillocks and tussocks. You may meet animals up close and personal.

$10 per person. Children 5 and under are free. No need for a reservation, but feel free to call ahead for a mud report!


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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