paul lawler head cheesemaker

Notes from the Vat

Trilby washed in Dad's Hat Rye whiskey ageing in the caves
Trilby washed in Dad’s Hat Rye whiskey ageing in the caves

We’ve got another tasty batch of Rarebird this week, as well as a limited number of Trilby and Buttercup Brie wheels this week.

Farm Markets are still in full swing and the farm store has been bustling. Here are the cheeses we are featuring this week.

Toma
We let this little rustic raw milk farmhouse Toma batch get a bit of extra age, making it extra special! These wheels boast a delectably dense and creamy texture. Each bite of these buttery wheels melts in your mouth, bursting with layers of grassy notes and hints of fall fruits and salted nuts, alongside roasted malt and fresh sea salt with a wonderfully subtle minerality running through all the stronger notes that really ties this flavorful batch together. Raw Milk...

Trilby
This new batch of Trilby is incredible. These wheels offer  a soft, supple texture with a luscious creamline, and flavor to boot! These little Trilbies give off an aroma of cocoa with a rind carrying just a hint of hoppiness, thanks to the Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey they are washed in. Inside at the creamy center of the cheese, you’ll get notes of earthiness, and autumnal fruit flavors like crisp apples and pears. Make a space on your fall cheese board for these little guys! Pasteurized milk.

Rarebird
The raw milk Rarebird in this batch are dense with a sweet custardy aroma. These wheels carry some of the same sweet fall fruit flavors of the last batch, with added notes of anise-y black licorice and brown butter. The texture is creamy and palate-coating, with some hints of fresh bread and sweet cream rounding out the flavor profile. These Rarebirds would make a welcome addition to any cheesboard, and happen to make a great snack with sliced tart apples or crisp pears. Raw milk.

Havilah
These latest batches of Havilah are really lovely. Cracking the wheels open, stocky vegetal aromas waft up to greet you, and the lovely golden color of the paste says summer gold. These wheels are dense and flakey, with flavors of broiled carrots, caramelized shallots, roasted nuts, and hearty beefy stews and those subtler notes of brown sugar, caramel, and a tiny hint of vanilla near the finish. Raw milk.

Herdsman
These six month old winter Herdsman baskets start off with notes of cultured butter and creme fraiche, lemony citrus, and fresh sea salt, finishing off with hints of toasted cashew, caramel, and a bit of sharpness. This batch is firm and flakey, very versatile – equally great for snacking or for cooking! Raw milk

Abruzze Jawn
In the farm store only! Our savory Abruzze Jawn will be very limited for awhile, while batches ripen in the caves. This creamy raw milk jack-style curd is blended with mild red pepper, ancho, pepperoncini, guajillo, pimenton (smoked paprika), green peppercorn, onion, and garlic. Aged 6 months, the smoky sweet spice blend imparts a distinct meaty flavor. Grate over cornbread, or atop your squash soup. Delicious on a grass-fed beef or black bean burger. Addictively spiced, but without heat. Raw milk.

Our creamy, tangy Lawrenceville Jack and small supply of Jack Reserve are also available in the farm store.

Notes From The Vat

Oooooumammi is back, baby! This is the raw milk bloomy rind of your dreams!

Here is what we are featuring this week in the farm store and farmers markets.

Ooooooooooumammi!
Ooooumami has returned at long last, and we can’t wait to share these wheels with you. This batch is a love child between a vegetal brie and an earthy tomme – the mottled rind on this raw milk cheese is just the beginning of the beauty that is these wheels. Underneath that dappled bloomy rind lies a fudgy creamline and a dense center paste that are packed with flavor. Funky earthen flavors of mushrooms and root vegetables are balanced by notes of salted butter, savory meats, and even hints of anise near the finish. Raw milk.

Havilah
These raw milk Havilah wheels, made with summertime milk, boast layers and layers of flavors thanks to our diverse grassy pastures. This batch has a dense, almost cheddary texture, with aromas of fresh scallions and roasting meats. Notes of buttered potatoes and slow-cooked brisket make up the savory side, while the sweet side is peppered with hints of salted caramel and toasted nuts. This cheese packs a meal into each bite. Raw milk.

Rarebird
These young raw milk Rarebird wheels are particularly special: because all Rarebird is made with the milk of just one day’s milking, these little washed rind wheels being on the younger side is a perfect snapshot of exactly what was happening on the farm that day – the fresh grasses our cows were eating, the weather around us, and our dedicated cheesemaking processes, and how all of that influenced the flavors of our luscious fresh milk. These wheels have a soft, sweet cream aroma and a pudgy, palate-coating texture that just about melts in your mouth. The flavors of this batch are simple and clean – wonderful notes of salted butter and fresh baked bread, with a tiny bit of that lovely washed-rind funk near the creamline. At the finish, a tinge of sweetness brings notes of vanilla and almond riding atop subtle hints of grassiness. Raw milk.

Herdsman
This batch of extra-aged Herdsman baskets starts off with notes of cultured butter, lemony citrus, and fresh sea salt, finishing off with hints of toasted cashew, and a bit of sharpness, which can even be a bit reminiscent of clothbound cheddars at times. This batch is firm and flakey, very versatile – equally great for snacking or for cooking! Raw milk.

Toma
Toma is especially delicious right now. The wheels start out with a funky, almost boozy aroma, but when you bite into this dense and creamy cheese, you are greeted with flavors of fresh yeasty bread with salted butter, hints of sweetness, and undercurrents of grassy notes. The finish is bright and overall these wheels are wonderful! Raw milk.

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

 

 


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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