grass-fed raw milk cheese

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.

Notes From the Vat

We had a helluva zany week on the farm. A hellion-howling wind ran amuck last Friday, downing trees and causing general mayhem. Half the farm was without power and we are grateful all our aging rooms and milking equipment are functioning. A score of cows escaped their paddock, and a few went off and gave birth! (See the montage of new calves below.)

The big snow left us with downed trees, fractured fences, and more power issues. And another brand new calf this morning!

This is the beginning of that magical time of year when calves start popping out, so stay tuned for more cute calf pictures weekly. (This year’s naming convention is Greek Mythology!)

And now, the Cheese!

Oooumami:  Every year we mess about with a few raw milk, high moisture cheeses, and on occasion they shine. This is the closest we’ve gotten to a raw milk Buttercup in the last two years. Aging these things can be a fickle drama, but we’ve pulled off a very tasty, unique raw milk cheese. The rind is rich garden of molds, 60% bloomy, 40 % other. The paste is just wee bit ripened to butter, the rest cream cheese-like. And the flavor! Think the rich mushroom n beef flavors of stroganoff, rich roasted/seared meat notes, and a little lemon acidity to offset it all. Good cheese! Raw milk

Sugarcube (or batch 328): an experimental mixed rind with a line of ash through the middle for all the drama. May it bring a sweet light to your darkest winter. These are awesome right now and should be delightful on your cheeseplates with jam and chutney. Pasteurized milk. (see picture below)

Mooncakes!: A wilder, limited version of our Buttercup Brie. It features a smorgasbord of penicillium mold strains, in addition to the pure-white that we’re accustomed to. What you’ve got here is the unctuous butteriness of our standard Buttercup plus an intriguingly earthy, mushroomy, vegetal finish. Distinctly cave-y, mushroomy, like going spelunking in a cavern of earthy mushrooms with a sea of butter underneath you.

Bette Davis Eyes: Getting low on these guys but one batch left. A current favorite with cider or whiskey drinks, or drizzled with farm honey. Raw milk.

Herdsman:
Early November batches available now. Very creamy, stone-fruit and lactic aromas, classic tomme flavors, with notes of candied lemon and horseradish. Raw milk.

Havilah: August and Sept 2016 batches. This cheese just gets better and better with time. Current tasting notes include: butterscotch, broth, grass, caramelized onions, and of course, butter. Raw milk.

Toma: Early December wheels now available. Super rich winter milk makes Toma even more buttery and decadent. Slight paste break-down underneath the beautifully sunset-hued rind. Endlessly snackable, crowd pleasing, with a pleasant lemmony zip and nutty finish on the rind. Raw milk.

Rarebird: Limited availability.  Unctuously buttery… it literally melts in your mouth. AND THE FLAVOR…! Our tasting notes for this one include everything from beef stock and mushrms to shell fish and broccoli rabe. Every single bite is something different and the flavor is about as episodic. This is a beautifully complex batch. Made from a single milking. Raw milk.

Don’t forget to mark down March 30th on your calendars for this year’s Brewer’s Plate! For the uninitiated, Brewer’s Plate is a veritable cornucopia of the best suds n small plates from our regional brewers, chefs, farms and distilleries. A smorgasbord of delight that benefits our local food pioneers at Fair Food.

CHEESE!
Always grateful for your support.

Paul Lawler, Head Cheesemkaer

Notes From The Vat

Just back from a long sojourn to see my brother and his wife, plus an amazingly brilliant 11 year old nephew in London. SO MANY GREAT CHEESES! Got to meet up with Bronwen Percival, co-author of Reinventing the Wheel, and buyer at Neal’s Yard Dairy, a purveyor of fine (mostly) British cheeses. Reinventing the Wheel is really a must read for anyone who prizes the place of real cheese, cheese that gives meaning when eaten, in our world. It’s really made me rethink some of my opinions, and is the best non-instructional cheese book I’ve come across in 10 years.
https://www.amazon.com/Reinventing-Wheel-Microbes-California-Studies/dp/0520290151
One thing that struck me across the pond was acceptance and enthusiasm for a range of natural rinds, be they on bloomy rinds, hard cheeses, and in between. (See below.)
Note the raw milk farm camembert, bottom right, (its one wheel) full of creases, and lines. And the various British raw milk lactic cheeses, and the rind on a Cheshire.

My point being: embrace the mold folks. It’s not dangerous, and it many cases it is what makes the cheese. Feed your customers real, ripe farm cheese so they know what a live thing looks and tastes like. 

And now off my high horse: We have batches of BOTH Buttercup and Mooncakes that are delectably ripe right now. Crazy Pauly is putting MOONCAKES ON SALE!

Plus there is the newest iteration of Bette Davis Eyes, pleasantly outstanding and all for your delight! 

Trilby: TRILBY! Everyone’s favorite boozy little stinker. (In case you’ve forgotten, Trilby is a small format cheese washed in Dad’s Hat delicious Rye Whiskey and then wrapped up like a precious present in apple brandy soaked fig leaves.) It’s flavor is big, bold, sweet, vegetal, boozy and complex. Pasteurized

Rarebird: Just a select few wheels left.  First of all, the paste is unctuously buttery… it literally melts in your mouth. AND THE FLAVOR…! Our tasting notes for this one include everything from beef stock and mushrooms to shellfish and broccoli rabe. Every single bite is something different and the flavor is about as episodic as Star Wars. This is a beautifully complex batch that’ll go perfectly with everything. Raw Milk.

Buttercup Brie: The return of everyone’s favorite. Grassy, buttery, decadent! Mushroom butter and forest funk under the rind  Pasteurized.

Mooncakes, Mooncakes, Mooncakes! A wilder, limited version of our Buttercup Brie. It features a smorgasbord of penicillium mold strains in addition to the pure-white that we’re accustomed to. PLUS, we’ve added a dash of vegetable ash mixed with a delicate dusting of smoked paprika in the background. What you’ve got here is the unctuous butteriness of our standard Buttercup plus an intriguingly earthy, mushroomy, vegetal finish. Distinctly cave-y, mushroomy, it’s like going spelunking in a cavern with pleasing mushrooms and sea of butter underneath you. Mhmmmm….sea of butter. Pasteurized.

Bette Davis Eyes
A new batch, decidedly better, and creamier, than the last. Sean continues in heroic efforts to hone in on this lil number. Now for our 2018 resolution: wood shelves! Mad fudgy, gorgonzola-esque, mint garden and light mineral earthiness.  Raw Milk.

Herdsman
Available now in petit wheels made in late July. They’re dense and cheddary in texture, with that nutty, grassy tang that everyone loves about Herdsman. A little taste of summer to brighten up the impending chill. Notes of candied lemon and horseradish. Raw milk. 

Havilah
This cheese just gets better and better over the years. Current tasting notes include: butterscotch, broth, grass, caramelized onions, and of course, butter. Raw milk. 

Toma
As always, get it before it’s gone… Prototypical Toma wheels. Slight paste break-down underneath the beautifully sunset hued rind. Endlessly snackable, crowd pleasing, meltable with a pleasant lemony zip, and savory finish. Raw milk. 

HAPPY MONGERING! 
Always grateful for your support.

Paul

Holiday Notes from the Vat

Kohlrabi the cow says to eat more cheese.!
Hello, hello. Ho Ho Ho. Happy holidays. Its the countdown to Christmas (and New Years)! 

Hopefully, this finds you adequately egg-nogged and ready to face what is undoubtedly one of the busiest times of the year. But fret not, we have some deliciously special holiday offerings to share with you, your friends, and loved ones. Give a warm season’s greetings to the return of Rarebird and Bette Davis Eyes!

 

 

CHEESE! CHEESE! CHEESE! 

The Unctuous Rarebird

Rarebird: The cheese that definitely keeps on giving! First of all, the paste is unctuously buttery, it literally melts in your mouth. AND THE FLAVOR! Our tasting notes include everything from beef stock and mushrooms to shell fish and broccoli rabe. Every bite offers something different with flavors about as episodic as Star Wars. This is a beautifully complex batch that’ll go perfectly with everything Holiday. Raw.

Buttercup Brie: The return of everyone’s favorite. Grassy, buttery, decadent! Why be nice when you can be naughty? Pasteurized.

Mooncakes, Mooncakes, Mooncakes! A wilder, limited version of our Buttercup Brie. It features a smorgasbord of penicillium mold strains in addition to the pure-white that we’re accustomed to. PLUS, we’ve added a dash of vegetable ash mixed with a delicate dusting of smoked paprika in the background. What you’ve got here is the unctuous butteriness of our standard Buttercup, plus an intriguingly earthy, mushroomy, vegetal finish. Distinctly cavey-mushroomy, it’s like going spelunking in a cavern with pleasing mushrooms and sea of butter underneath you. Mhmmmm….sea of butter.  Pasteurized.

Toma Birra
Similar to Herdsman but with a frat party, hoppy-edge from the lager used in the wash. Sharp n sweet, flaky texture. Late June milk, a lil slice of summer party. Raw Milk.

blue-veined cheese

A rustic blue, our Bette Davis Eyes

Bette Davis Eyes
This is a decidedly rustic blue. Did someone say Ovaltine?! Fudgy texture with a host of malty notes and overtones of earthiness and slate. This would be great partner to the dark beers of winter or a port wine.  Try on a broiled cheesey toast with mushrooms and thyme.
Raw Milk.

 

Herdsman
Available now in petite, personal-sized wheels made in late July. They’re dense and cheddary in texture, with that nutty, grassy tang that everyone loves about Herdsman. A little taste of summer to brighten up the impending chill. Notes of candied lemon and horseradish. Raw milk. 

Havilah
This cheese just gets better and better over the years. Pictured below are some tasting notes from recent Official Tasting Panels. Raw Milk.

 

Full Nettle Jack, Lawrenceville Jack, Jack Reserve, and what will likely be your only week chance at Abbruzze Jawn till May/June.
HOOO HOOO HOOOO! Merry Christmas and Happy Jack. The rare and the illusive make a special Holiday appearance for one week (maybe two) only. Get them while you can for your  holiday cheese plates, or you’ll start the new year full of regret. Raw Milk.

Notes From The Vat!

Trilby is back!

After a seemingly interminable 60 day aging period, a very special raw milk batch of Trilby is finally legal! These plump whiskey-washed rounds are in eat-it-now condition – some gooey and rich and others dense and fudgy…ALL DELICIOUS. To add some seasonal flare we’ve wrapped the little guys in Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey-soaked leaves – hop, fig or grape. The perfect late Father’s Day gift for those procrastinators amongst us, or bring along this beefy, boozy companion to your next early summer bbq/picnic/potluck/cheese-swap.

trilbyquarters

And now, the CHEESE!

Trilby
A special raw milk batch. Washed in Dad’s Hat Rye and then wrapped in whiskey soaked leaves. Beautiful mixed-mold on the rind. Fruity, boozy, beefy with hints of rye and caraway. Texture ranges from dense and fudge-y to ooze-y and rich. **VERY LIMITED STOCK** Raw.

Buttercup Brie
Our classic brie is back. Mild and buttery with an earthy, slightly mushroom-y rind. 
Mini & Standard wheels. Pasteurized.

Rarebird
The thrush alone declares the immortal wealth and vigor that is in the forest… Whenever a man hears it he is young, and Nature is in her spring; whenever he hears it, it is a new world and a free country, and the gates of heaven are not shut against him.” – Henry David Thoreau

Washed in Berliner Messe from Referend Bier Blendery. Squidgy texture with a porky, savory flavor. Yeasty, fruity notes towards the rind. **LIMITED STOCK** Raw.

Wild Bird
Rarebird with a wild natural rind. Custard-y, reminiscent of torta-style cheeses. Citrus-y in the paste with savory notes under the rind. **LIMITED STOCK** Raw.

Havilah
Reserve batches from Summer/Fall 2015 showing flavors ranging from caramelized onions and broth to brown sugar and candied orange peel. Batches from early Spring/Summer 2016 with notes of malt, beef stew, mushroom and toasted brioche. Nice balance of sweet and savory. Raw.

The Ploughman
Crumbly and yoghurt-y with hints of lemon. Think Lancashire or Wensleydale. Raw.

Herdsman
Full wheels from the winter with notes of walnut and herbs. Wonderfully dense and creamy. Raw.

Harvest Tomme
Winter batch of our ashed tomme. Pretty white interior with a line of ash running through the middle. Savory with flavors of roast meat and cracked pepper with a buttery crumble. Raw.

Toma
February and early March batches with notes of cured meat, orange blossom and lemon zest. Raw. 

Happy eating!


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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