grass-fed raw milk cheese

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!

Notes from the Vat

A new face can now be seen in our cheese caves! We’d like to welcome Malachy Egan, who will focus on affinage and wholesale sales with Paul. Malachy worked on the farm eons ago, and has worked with DiBruno Brothers most recently. And now he takes over Note From the Vat, the cheesemakers’ weekly news.

Greetings! 

As Paul mentioned last week, I’ll be taking charge of the wholesale side of things at Cherry Grove going forward. I was actually a cheese room assistant here many moons ago, so this is something of a homecoming for me. I’m looking forward to talking to you all over the coming weeks and months about the exciting stuff happening here in our little green slice of Lawrenceville. 

Even though production has shut down while we renovate our creamery (new floors!) that doesn’t mean our work has ceased. Still flipping, wrapping, cleaning to be done in the aging rooms. Also, tasting! We’ve got an exciting new tomme courtesy of cheese maker, Sean Fitzgerald. Based on a Corsican tomme recipe -using our high fat Jersey cows milk instead of sheeps milk- this little pudgy washed rind is a breath of fresh spring air. We’re calling it ‘Rarebird’ and it sports a custard-like texture in the paste and a vegetal snap towards the rind. Excited to share this limited selection with you! 

rarebird

We’ll be exhibiting at the Philly Farm & Food Fest on April 8th! It is one of the country’s biggest and best single-day food festivals and a great way to kick off the Spring season. Now in its 7th year, PF3 focuses on local farmers, artisans and regional experts in the agricultural and processing fields. Come see us at the VIP Industry Preview Hour or throughout the event. Admission is free for credentialed buyers! See more info here.
 
As always, we welcome your questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks for your business and have a great weekend!
 
 
Cherry Grove Farm Cheese Availability – Week of 3/27

 
Please note: Buttercup Brie is still another few days away from readiness, so we’ll have to wait another week. In the meantime, still a bit of the Mooncakes and Raw Rodeo Brie to see us through. Full list below…
 
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 rind tomme. Pudding like texture with notes of hazelnut and wild asparagus.  ***LIMITED STOCK*** Raw.
 
Mooncakes Buttercup
Our classic brie but with a bit of wild blue/grey mold mingling on the fluffy white rind. The flavor is bright with notes of citrus peel. Pasteurized.
 
Raw Rodeo Brie
Lovely layered effect in the paste with a more acidic, lemon cake surrounded by a gooey mushroom-y exterior.  (Because this is raw milk you’ll find a multi-hued, mottled rind rather than the typical bone white of the typical buttercup). Raw.

 
Trilby
Beefy and pungent. Washed in Dad’s Hat Whiskey. Dense and creamy – fudgier texture than usual. Pasteurized. 
 
Herdsman
Surprisingly high moisture baskets from last September. Firmer, sharper full wheels from October. Raw.
 
Toma
Pretty sunset colors on the rind, this is an ideal batch! Grab it while you can. Raw. 
 
Havilah
Tastes range from caramelized onions and bone marrow to brown sugar and brioche. Batches from Summer 2015. Raw. 
 
Abruzze Jawn
Back for a limited time! 6 months old. Tastes like a cheesesteak – seriously. Raw. 
 

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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