lawrenceville

Yummy, Gooey, Grilled Cheese with Chef Carmine

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the farm this past weekend to have a grilled cheese sandwich prepared by Chef Carmine and Jeremy! Despite soaring temperatures and threats of afternoon thunderstorms, many showed up to enjoy soup, sandwiches, and a beautiful afternoon on the farm.

 

This past Saturday, Chef Carmine set up his grill cheese-making station outside the Cherry Grove Farm Store. He got to work cutting cheeses, prepping vegetables, including fresh asparagus and juicy tomatoes, and slicing still-warm bread from The Village Bakery.

 

 

Each sandwich was hand prepared using fresh and local ingredients. Customers chose from a selection of Cherry Grove cheeses, Village Bakery bread and Chef Carmine’s roasted vegetables. We got to talk with some customers, and take peeks into their sandwiches! If you didn’t get to the farm for a sandwich, check out a few of the pictures we took. Just a warning though, we guarantee that once you see these sandwiches, you won’t want to miss another grilled cheese day!

 

Don’t just take our word for it though; listen to what customers are saying. Here’s what Melissa, a Carmine’s sandwich novice, had to say about her whole grain bread, Herdsmen and Toma cheese, grilled asparagus, arugula and tomato sandwich.

 

“To start with, it was beautiful. I loved that Chef sliced the bread right there. Freshly baked bread, sliced right on sight! They were fun to talk to, too, while I waited for my sandwich. And they have this secret sauce…whatever it is that they used to butter the bread before grilling was delicious. The cheeses melted and complimented each other into a gooey trifecta of perfect vegetables, cheese and bread. Yum! I’ll be back,” Melissa told us.

 

 

She also admitted that when she saw how big the sandwich was, she thought she’d be able to “just eat half and bring the rest home. No such luck for my husband!”

 

Grilled cheese sandwiches are simple. Bread, butter, and cheese layered together and thrown in a hot pan is not exactly the most complicated recipe. Something magical happens, though, when the butter browns and begins to slowly toast the bread while the cheese starts to melt. When you add deliciously sharp and salty Cherry Grove Herdsmen Cheese and Village Bakery bread to the mix, you get the ultimate in grilled cheese sandwiches. So to everyone who has experienced this bliss, you’re welcome to share your stories on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear your feedback. And newcomers are invited to join us for our upcoming grilled cheese Saturdays, happening each Saturday here at the farm from 11am-3pm all through the month of June! Check back here and on Facebook to find out when Chef Carmine will be cooking next!

 

 

To contact the Chef directly, you can call Chef Carmine Sacchitello at 732-606-7467, or visit his Facebook.

 

A Fair Day at Cherry Grove Farm

Last week our friends at Fair Food Farmstand dropped by! We had a fantastic time giving them a behind-the-scenes look at how we operate on a daily basis, and we even got our hands a little dirty in the process! Fair Food Farmstand carries our farmstead cheeses and a plethora of other farm-sourced goodies at their stand in the Philadelphia Reading Terminal Market. Next time you are in the city, be sure to check them out! Here is what they had to say about their visit to Cherry Grove:

 

Last Tuesday, the boys of Fair Food—myself, Noel and Nate—took a trip to Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville, NJ. We met some very fine folks including Stacey, our lovely tour guide; Sam, the head cheese maker; and Malachy, our former Farmstand cheese intern. Cherry Grove is a picturesque farm of 400 acres, 250 of which are certified organic pasture for their 115 Jersey and Short Horn cows. From these cows comes the sweet milk that produces some of our favorite cheeses at the Farmstand—the Havilah and Toma Primavera being two of our stand-by’s. 

 

Noel, Craig & Nate gear up for the cheesemaking room.

 

Our first leg of the tour was the cheese room and there was action! Sam was scooping, molding and pressing some fresh Herdsman. Malachy was hand-molding some beautiful bloomy rinds. Giant wheels of Havilah were soaking in their salt brine. We checked out their three caves: one for the bloomy rinds (that buttery Buttercup Brie), one for the Havilah, Herdsman and Jacks and a single cave just for the Toma Primavera.  

 

Cheese Curds

 

Next we took a tour of the farm and pastures. Cherry Grove puts a lot of effort into being a sustainable system. We met “the spreader” which is a nifty conveyor belt that recycles the cow manure into fertilizer. We saw “the sucker” which takes the excess whey from the cheese room and pipes it to their 100% whey-fed Berkshire pigs. Their wood fire heat exchanger provides heat and hot water for all of the cheese making and the farm store. The wood comes from local tree surgeons who deliver the wood that they would normally have to pay to landfill—pretty cool if you ask me! 

 

Cherry Grove’s Pastures

 

Lastly we got to spend some time with the pasture-raised chickens. There is no experience quite like harvesting eggs with 1,000 clucking and pecking chickens at your feet on a 95-degree summer day. We had a blast, to say the least! Living in the city, it’s incredibly refreshing to spend time on a farm—so much that we worked for fun! 

 

Aging Wheels of Toma Primavera

 

We wrapped up our tour with a cheese tasting and we were fortunate to come home with treats: our harvested eggs; delicious pork products for ourselves; and a couple of wheels of Toma Primavera (the first batches of the season!) for your enjoyment at the Farmstand.

The folks at Cherry Grove were so knowledgeable, and fun—I am already looking forward to our next visit! In the meantime we’ll keep on enjoying their delicious cheeses and organic veggies down at the stand!

-Craig

 

 

OOH-LAY-LA!

We are excited to announce the release of our newest cheese: Layla! Unlike any other cheese at Cherry Grove Farm, Layla is made in a Neufchâtel style. You may have seen the word “Neufchâtel” in the cream cheese section of your local grocery store and thought, “That’s a pretty fancy name for low-fat cream cheese.” You were correct. Authentic Neufchâtel is actually a bloomy rinded lactic cheese that is the cow’s milk version of the ever-popular goat’s milk Chèvre. Neufchâtel is credited as being Normandy’s first cheese, dating back to the sixth century. It was around even before Camembert and brie. Layla is also the first cheese that our Cheesemaker, Sam, developed to gain his rite of passage from Assistant Cheesemaker to Head Cheesemaker.

In keeping with the theme of “firsts,” Layla is also the namesake of Cherry Grove’s first dairy cow! When Kelly first started this farm, Layla was the first cow that provided him with milk. Consequently, Sam thought it would be appropriate to dedicate his first solo cheese venture to Kelly, his mentor, by honoring Layla’s memory.

 

One of the most interesting qualities of Layla is its mutability. Layla matures 2 to 8 weeks from its “born on date.” Due to such a short aging process, the milk must be gently pasteurized. During the first 3 weeks after its born on date, Layla has a mild and creamy flavor profile, with a flaky texture that melts in your mouth similar to a young Chèvre. Around week 4, the cheese starts to ripen and an age line appears. From there on out, Layla slowly transforms from a mild-mannered young lady into a sharp, salty, mushroomy masterpiece.

Pairing Ideas:

Pair young Layla with champagne, lighter white wines, session beers, or a Belgian Witte. Pair Layla at 4 weeks with Riesling, Pinot Noir, or a Pilsner. Pair Layla at 8 weeks with Cabernet, Syrah, or a good strong IPA. Layla is also delicious with seasonal fruit, especially blueberries and concord grapes.

 

Jersey Strong

Jersery cows relaxing in the pasture

This week, if you drove by Cherry Grove on Route 206 you would have gotten quite an eyeful: lean with long, thin legs…big, brown eyes with thick lashes…who are these gorgeous gals hanging out on the farm?

 

Our dairy herd spent most of the week in the front pastures of the farm.  Looking out at them got me to wondering, “does everyone know how great these cows are?”  Whether you’re a community member who likes to see the cows nodding their heads at you when you’re stuck in 206 traffic or a frequent visitor to the farm, there’s probably some information about our cows that you don’t know.

 

Here at Cherry Grove Farm, the cows in our dairy herd are predominantly Jersey Cattle.  The Jersey here references Jersey, England, where in 1786 the States of Jersey began a ban on importing any cows to the island of Jersey to protect and promote the growth of a pure Jersey breed.  That Jersey breed has now become one of the most coveted dairy breeds in the world.

 

Jersey cows are often called the “Queen of Breeds” and “naturally produce the highest quality milk for human consumption,” according to Chaney’s Dairy Barn and the American Jersey Cattle Association.  More than being delicious and creamy milk (perfect for both drinking and making cheese), Jersey milk is one of the most nutritious cow’s milks available.  Jersey milk is 5.5% milk fat, 3.9% protein and 15% milk solids, which makes for ultra creamy milk.  For a comparison, Holstein cows’ milk is 3.5% fat, 3.1% protein and 12.2% solids.

 

The high protein level in Jersey milk is a big help for Sam, our cheese maker.  Protein is made up of amino acids, and those acids allow us coagulate the milk and make curds.*  The high levels of milk fat and solids in Jersey milk help make those curds extra rich and velvety.

 

At this point in the spring season, our herd is enjoying sweet grass and the last of the early spring buttercups that inspire our creamy Buttercup Brie.  If you want to try the result of their grassy gluttony, stop by to try our Buttercup Brie or fresh cheddar cheese curds– both are young, mild cheeses that aptly exhibit the high quality of Jersey milk.   You can pick up any of our cheese at the Farm Store, which is open Thursday through Monday, from 11am to 5pm.

 

And to see the beauty of the cows, you’re more than welcome to come visit the herd and their playful calves at the farm.  We have a daily public milking at 3pm, which all are welcome to attend.  In the farm’s Milking Parlour you’ll see Farm Manager Kelly Harding demonstrate how we milk our cow, process the milk and transfer into our cheese room.

 

 

* Coming soon: if you’re intrigued by this process and want more information, we’ll also be posting about how milk is transformed into cheese!

(Grass-Fed) Beef 101

This is a great, helpful, easy graphic to help everyone understand why it is so
important to eat grass-fed anything! Take a look at the grass-fed beef facts below.
Eat Local, Know Your Farmer Know Your Food – It’s That Simple.
Our Grass-Fed Ground Beef Sale Ends This Saturday! The Farm Store Will Be Open
Thursday, Friday & Saturday (11-5pm).

Stock up on Grass-fed Ground Beef & Our Grass-Fed Cheese and make a nice warm meal for your family tonight – Our Beefed Up Mac N’ Cheese (all grass-fed) Recipe

 

Beef Infographic

Source: FrugalDad

 


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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