paul lawler head cheesemaker

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

Beefcakes!

Rarebird on Mme. Fromage’s table

In case you missed the big news amid all of the Superbowl elation, our very own Rarebird is in the spotlight!

The wonderfully infamous and always delightful Madame Fromage featured Rarebird last week as part of her #AmericanCheeseProject! I’ll let her eloquence and thoughtfulness speak for itself in the snippet below. 

We’re honored and thrilled to be featured and we humbly thank Madame Fromage for the kind words. Anyone who describes cheese as “beefcakes” is a friend of ours, indeed. If you haven’t already, check out Madame Fromage’s blog, instagram, and numerous book publications. They’re fun, well written and informative.

With that said: now is probably your last chance to get somma dis devilishly delicious funk-bomb batch of Rarebird for a couple weeks. Check the farm store!

What else is on hand?

Trilby: Everyone’s favorite boozy little stinker. The last of this small format cheese washed in Dad’s Hat delicious Rye Whiskey is in the store, then we have to wait a few months for the next batch. Big, bold, boozy, and complex. Pasteurized milk.

Sugarcube (or batch 328): This experimental mixed rind with a line of ash through the middle is still available in limited amounts.

Mooncakes! A super-ripe version of our Butercup Brie with an added dash of vegetable ash mixed with a delicate dusting of smoked paprika in the background. All the unctuous butteriness of our standard Buttercup with an intriguingly earthy, mushroomy, vegetal finish. Distinctly cave-y, mushroomy.  Pasteurized milk.

Buttercup Brie: Some powerful wheels from November are in the store, with notes of fresh hay, butter cooked oyster mushrooms and beef. Beautifully rumpled, very luxe and creamy with notes of buttermilk and creme fraiche. Pasteurized milk.
 
Bette Davis Eyes
A limited amount of this mad fudgy, gorgonzola-esque blue, with mint garden and light mineral earthiness. Get it while it lasts. Raw milk.

Herdsman
Very creamy, stone-fruit and lactic aromas, classic tomme flavors in what remians of this November batch. Notes of candied lemon and horseradish that remind some of tomme de savoie. Raw milk.

Havilah
August and Sept 2016 batches. Our rich and velvetty Havilah ages like a fine wine. Current tasting notes include: butterscotch, broth, grass, caramelized onions, and of course, butter. Raw milk.

A sunset-hued rind

Toma
REALLY nice October batch – the rind is that can’t miss melange of roasted nut flavors. Slight paste break-down underneath the beautiful sunset-hued rind. Endlessly snackable, crowd pleasing, with a pleasant lemony zip. Raw milk.

Don’t forget tomorrow’s Evening of Cheese at the Cheesemakers Resource Conference, at 6 PM (Tuesday, Feb 13th). Chef/Buyers: If you want to taste the cheese and talk to an array of Midatlantic regional cheesemakers all in one room, this is the perfect event! Come hungry. About an hour from Philly and right down the road from Stoudts brewing. 
http://www.dairyheritage.com/evening-of-cheese.php

Always grateful for your support. 

Paul Lawler, Head Cheesemaker

 

 

News From the Vat

Dearest Quesophiles,
 
In light of current events, let me share with you this excellent 1988 Eagles ditty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlR6ujpB89k

Winter is the time for farm and creamery planning and reflection. So while we inch along at 32 gallons a day right now, we are anticipating upwards of 125 gallons a day in the summer. That’s a lot of Havilah’s for 2019/20 and more tommes, Rarebirds, and Buttercups for this season too!

Here’s a picture of some winter foliage from the farmyard.

But now, what is on our cheese board this week!

Trilby: Everyone’s favorite boozy little stinker. This is the last week or two on this batch, then they go away for a month. (In case you’ve forgotten, Trilby is a small format cheese washed in Dad’s Hat delicious Rye Whiskey). No leaves on them this time of year, sorry. But still big, bold, sweet, vegetal, boozy and complex. Pasteurized milk.                            

Sugarcube (or Batch 328): This is an experimental mixed rind cheese with a line of ash through the middle for all the drama. May it bring a sweet light to your darkest winter. Pasteurized milk.



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. Mmmmm….sea of butter.  Pasteurized milk.

Buttercup Brie: Petite but powerful wheels from November with notes of fresh hay, butter cooked oyster mushrooms and beef – vintage gems! Quarters from our large Buttercups, beautifully rumpled, very luxe n creamy with notes of buttermilk n creme fraiche. Pasteurized milk.

Bette Davis Eyes
A new batch, decidedly far 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. 8-10# wheels Raw milk.

Herdsman
Available now are our early November batches. Very creamy, stone-fruit and lactic aromas, classic tomme flavors. Favorite comment in French accent last week at a Whole Foods event “this reminds me of tomme de savoie, I’ll take it!” Notes of candied lemon and horseradish. Raw milk.

Havilah
August and Sept 2016 batches. 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
REALLY nice October batch – the rind is can’t miss plethora of roasted nut flavors. 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.

A brief plug for an awesome event we will be at, The Evening of Cheese at the Cheesemakers Resource Conference, 6 PM Tues Feb 13th. If you are a chef/buyer and want to taste the cheese of and talk to an array of Midatlantic regional cheesemakers all in one room, here is the perfect way to see what’s up! Come hungry. About an hour from Philly and right down the road from Stoudts brewing.
http://www.dairyheritage.com/evening-of-cheese.php

Always grateful for your support.

Paul Lawler, Head Cheesemaker

Notes From the Vat

Howdy! Picking up where we left off last week: Did you know that every wheel of cheese is an autonomously episodic ecosystem?

Basically, every wheel is like a microcosmic forest, jungle, or meadow…. Things move in and out; paving the way for new species to be able to grow and thrive. But forget the poetics of rinds for a minute and, thinking in a purely anthropocentric way: mold tastes good.

Mold, bacteria, and yeast are integrally responsible for creating the flavors of the various cheeses that we eat. (Not to mention any fermented food/beverage we consume.) PLUS, they’re aesthetically fascinating, never entirely predictable, and they never seem to repeat themselves. They’re our collaborators, we love them, and you should too. 

Anyway, enough workspeak. Give me the cheese.

And here you have it.  Speaking of mold, loads of ripe Mooncakes still on sale. Think mushrooms sauteed in butter and herbs.

Working towards the end of this batch of Trilby, which are also getting amazingly ripe. Think drinking rye on the rocks while eating a ham sandwich at the same time.

Get the Rarebird while you can: Think foie gras without the guilt.

And of course last but not least Bette Davis Eyes. We’ve got three different batches now ready for sale. They range in flavor from young, mild and creamy to bold, funky and peppery. Choose your own adventure.

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 milk.

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. This is a beautifully complex batch. Raw milk.

Buttercup Brie: None this week, Sorry. Eat Mooncakes instead.

Mooncakes, Mooncakes, Mooncakes! A wilder, limited version of our Buttercup Brie, this bloomy 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. Mmmmm….sea of butter.  Pasteurized milk.

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 are 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.

As always, thank you for your business!

Paul Lawler, Head Cheesemaker


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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