rarebird

Notes From The Vat, Holiday Edition

Happy Holiday Season Quesophiles!

‘Tis the season of giving and for cheese, and for that reason we have a gift for you!

From now through January 1st, you can get our Havilah, a Good Food awards finalist, at a holiday gift price, because it is the season to celebrate with cheese! We want you to enjoy our flagship cheese, made in summer when the cows are grazing fresh, green grasses, on all your holiday cheese boards.

Melt Havilah into your turkey day mashed potatoes, wrap a wedge and stuff it in the stocking of the curd nerd in your life, grate it up and mix it into your Hanukkah latkes, or bring it to your holiday celebrations this season. Havilah pairs well with ports, passitos, and iceweins, with malty beers, and bourbon or whisky in those dark days of winter by a cozy fire.

What is in the store and at markets?

Toma
The new batch of our Toma is dense and rich, with a flavorful rustic rind. These wheels have layers of flavors, with notes of creme fraiche, fresh yogurt, sweet vanilla, and undertones of toasted almond, grass, and mild earthy hints, bordering on mushroomy. With a little more acidity, this batch is a unique departure from a more traditional Toma flavor profile that will work well for both cooking and serving in cheese plates. RAW milk. On sale from now to January first.

Rarebird
Our raw milk Rarebird wheels are fudgy-creamy in texture, with a sweet custardy aroma and flavor. Always deliciously palate-coating, we taste hints of fresh bread and sweet cream with some of the same sweet fall fruit notes of the last batch, and notes of anise and brown butter to boot! Rarebird is always a great addition to a cheeseboard. RAW milk.

Buttercup Brie
Just in time for the holidays, this American Cheese Society Blue Ribbon winner is back. And what is a holiday cheeseboard without brie? Rich and silky with earthy mushroom and butter flavors. Pairs well with caramelized nuts and dried fruits. PASTEURIZED milk.

Havilah
We have a range of summer and fall batches from 2018, ranging from 14 to 16 months aged.

And did you hear our news?  Havilah and our Havilah Reserve are finalists in the Good Food awards! The Good Food Awards not only judge taste, but take into account sustainability so this is an honor for our farm, especially since we were competing against some much bigger operations!

These wheels are dense and velvety, and the layers of flavors keep coming once you take a bite. You will experience notes of braised carrots and asparagus, caramelized onion, slow cooked pork, and earthy mushrooms. There are tiny hints of garlic & onion, as well as a herbaceous undertone. These batches also boast a wonderful level of crystallization, so they really pop. RAW milk. On sale from now to January first.

What is in the store only?

You can still find our Lawrenceville Jack and ACS Blue Ribbon winning Jack Reserve in our cases. Also on hand is some Herdsman and Harvest Tomme, some superbly ripe Trilby and a limited amount of Abruzze Jawn.

Planning for your holidays? Look for one final batch of Abruzze  Jawn and Trilby in mid-December.

We are also selling beautiful oil-finished walnut cheese boards handmade from reclaimed wood about 50 minutes from our farm.

Ask our store and cheesemaking staff for suggestions for your holiday cheeses and pairings!

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

Havilah Reserve at ACS 2019 in Richmond, VA

Howdy cheese friends! Our cheesemakers have returned from their pilgrimage to the American Cheese Society conference in Richmond, VA, and we are excited to move forward with all the information learned and shared. We have lots of new cheese friends too!


Conference sessions covered a wide ranges of topics, from dairy farming and climate change, to courses on physical rehab, how to stay physically safe while milking cows and flipping big wheels of Havilah, to discovering new and exciting cheese pairings, understanding what causes cheese defects, to new research on affinage, and even a behind-the-scenes look at how cheeses are judged in competition.


We are all just about bursting with newfound motivation, and it is always great to see old friends and meet the new, and then taste cheeses from all around the country (even Hawaii!). 


But its great to be home and great to break open new wheels of our own beloved cheeses, so without further ado…..

 

Havilah
These raw milk Havilah wheels are just delicious. These batches have a dense, flakey texture with lots of that wonderful crystallization throughout. Brothy, hearty aromas greet you as you open the wheel, and when you take a bite, you get a wonderfully balanced flavor: beefy, with notes of broiled potatoes and slow-roasted root vegetables, and on the sweeter side, notes of hazelnut, salted caramel, honey, and vanilla. This is the perfect time of year to fall in love with Havilah again. Raw milk.

Oooumammi
Oooumammi is ready to take its rightful place as the star of your summertime cheese board. This cheese is a love child between a vegetal brie and an earthy tomme – the mottled rind on these raw milk wheels is just the beginning of the beauty that is Oooumammi. Underneath that dappled bloomy rind lies a fudgy creamline and a dense center paste packed with flavor. Earthy funky flavors of mushrooms and root vegetables are balanced by notes of salted butter, savory meats, with hints of anise near the finish. Raw milk.

Rarebird
Rarebird batches are always exceptional – they are each made with only the milk of 1 day – a perfect snapshot of the farm and the cows at that moment in time. Our delicious fresh raw milk is formed into small wheels in baskets, and for the next two months they each undergo a delicate washing by hand, which helps to form that beautiful creamsicle-colored rind. This batch is fudgy and creamy, with a texture that just about melts in your mouth with every bite. Flavor starts out clean, with notes of fresh cream and warm, yeasty bread straight out of the oven, and then develops just a hint of grassy funk near the washed rind. And Rarebird always leaves a last sweet goodbye: hints of almond and vanilla dancing across your palate at 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

Toma
In store only this week

This rustic raw milk farmhouse Toma batch boasts a delectable dense texture with an enticingly piquant aroma. Each bite of these wheels is buttery and bursting with flavor – layers of grassy notes atop hints of autumnal fruits and roasted nuts. In addition, there is a subtle minerality running in between all the stronger notes that really ties this flavorful batch together. Raw milk.

 

Buttercup Brie
On sale this week at 20% off in our farm store and at our farmers markets. Made from pasteurized milk.

Toma ready for tasting at the American Cheese Society Festival of Cheese.
Our cheeses found a place at the table among 500 of the best in the country.

Its (Cheese) Awards Season!

Salutations, cheese lovers! What an exciting week we had here at Cherry Grove Farm! We just sent out our entries to the American Cheese Society competition, where over 2,000+ cheeses from around the country are judged, and the highest scoring cheeses win awards. (We’ve won several!)
You can see more about the judging process here.

In order to choose our entries, we spent the last week hand selecting the most beautiful wheels from various batches of our cheeses, all of which were then taste-tested and critiqued by our cheesemaking staff, so we could winnow the field to those we are most proud of and feel have the best chance of winning.

In past year’s we have won blue ribbons for our Buttercup Brie, Lawrenceville Jack Reserve, and Abruzze Jawn, and a Silver Medal for Rarebird. Here’s hoping we come home with some 2019 winners!

summer and winter milk rarebirds
Winter and Summer Milk Rarebirds

A tale of two Rarebirds…. The beauty of raw farmstead cheeses is how they vary season to season.

We pulled these two beauties for this last batch tasting to choose ACS entries. You can see just how different this little cheese is when made with summer milk versus winter milk… textures change, flavors change, even the color changes!

Hoping our Rarebird soars this awards season!

Notes From The Vat

Our little booze-soaked jewels of Trilby are back!

Our farm store cases and farm market coolers will be filled with some long awaited returns, and some of our usual suspects!

Trilby
These little washed rind wheels are a delicious exploration of the terroir of Cherry Grove Farm. This seasonal cheese begins with the milk from our cows grazing lush summer pasture, and then spends its aging time being carefully washed in Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey, which is made from local rye grains in Bristol, just 20 miles from our farm.

A few weeks before the Trilby is ready to sell, we visit a chestnut tree and a fig tree on the farm to hand pick the prettiest leaves, which will be blanched and soaked in that beautiful booze for a few weeks. Once ready, each little Trilby will be carefully hand wrapped for its journey home with you.

Everything about this little cheese, from start to finish, is hyper-local and handmade, making these washed-rind wheels the encapsulation of summertime on our farm and our region. Flavors are funky, boozy, and beefy, with notes of buttermilk and a fudgy-creamy texture. Pasteurized milk.

Ooooooooooumammi
Ooooumammi is also back and ready to take its place on your summertime cheese board. This cheese is a love child between a vegetal brie and an earthy tomme – the mottled rind on these raw milk wheels is just the beginning of the beauty that is Ooooooumammi. Underneath that dappled bloomy rind lies a rich creamline and a dense center paste packed with flavor. Earthy, funky flavors of mushroom 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 aummer milk Havilah wheels, boast layers and layers of flavors thanks to our diverse grassy pastures. These batches have a dense, flakey texture with lots of that wonderful crystallization near the rind. Hearty, stocky aromas greet you as you open the wheel, and when you take a bite, you get beefy notes of broiled potatoes and slow-cooked vegetable stock, plus sweeter notes of hazelnut, salted caramel, and vanilla.

Pairs well with deep flavors like dark berries and plums. Try with Le Bon Magot’s Tomato White Sultana chutney. Raw milk.

Rarebird
Rarebird wheels are particularly special because this cheese is made with the milk of just one day’s milking. Being on the younger side, these little washed-rind wheels are a perfect snapshot of our terrior on that one summer day – the fresh grasses our cows were eating, the weather around us, our dedicated cheesemaking choices – and how each influenced the flavors of our luscious, fresh grass milk.

These wheels have a soft, sweet cream aroma and a dense, 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 almond and subtle hints of grassiness. Raw milk.

Herdsman
We have two batches to share at markets and in the store this week. We are still finishing late autumn batches of extra-aged Herdsman baskets that start off with notes of cultured butter, lemony citrus, and fresh sea salt, and finish with hints of toasted cashew, and a bit of sharpness, that can be reminiscent of clothbound cheddars. Firm and flakey, these extra-aged batches are very versatile, great for snacking or for cooking!

We also cracked open a large wheel of a Herdsman that was made with local beer added into the paste. Aged in a large format wheel these batches have a rich, creamy texture and bright notes of citrus and sea salt with the tang of hoppy cream. A nice pairing with Eat This tomato jalapeno marmalade or some sweet and spicy Three Monkey Mustard. Raw milk.

Abruzze Jawn Our savory Abruzze Jawn is back! 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.


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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