raw milk cheeses

Notes from the Vat

We have a new friendly face in the makeroom! Meet intern extraordinaire, Christine Shaw. 
Here’s a bit of Q&A before we get down to business:

Tell us about yourself!  I was born and raised in central New Jersey, and my greatest loves are food, animals, and books of all kinds. I graduated from The Culinary Institute of America back in December, and now I’m thrilled to be exploring cheesework on such a beautiful farm!

What do you enjoy most about the farm or the cheesework so far?  I love being in such close proximity to so many animals. It’s wonderful being able to pet the cats on my walks to and from the creamery, feed the goats my vegetable scraps, and hear the cows mooing from my bedroom at night. It all feels very peaceful. As for the cheesework, I love affinage! It’s a great opportunity to sort of study each wheel and watch it develop as it ages.

If you could be any Cherry Grove animal, who would it be?  The guinea hen! She’s beautiful, and her only job is to wander around the farm. It sounds like a pretty good deal!

Favorite cheese?   That’s a tough question. There are so many cheeses that I love, but Brie has a special place in my heart.

Favorite Cherry Grove Cheese?  The Trilby! The flavors are unbelievable. Our farm’s terroir, the Dad’s Hat whiskey, and the fig leaves all come together and create these amazing apricot and hay notes, and I just love it.

Thanks for joining us, Christine. Speaking of Trilby, we have a gorgeous batch of Trilby this week.

This Week in CHEESE! CHEESE! CHEESE! 
Buttercup Brie
Tastes like it sounds, like pure cultured butter. With a slight hint of mushroom under the rind. Mini ½ lbs and quarter wedges. Pasteurized.

Havilah
Batches from early spring/summer 2016 with notes of malt, beef stew, mushroom, and toasted brioche. Nice balance of sweet and savory. Raw.

Toma
Limited availability, batches from early August. Beautiful pinkish orange-shaded wheels, nice and beefy, roasted peanut and cashew flavors. Perfect for melting or snacking. Raw.

Trilby
Limited availability, from early September. Beautiful pinkish orange shaded wheels, nice and beefy, buttermilk, stonefruits, grass and hay- and a lovely butter texture. An ideal fall dessert with Seckel or Asian Pears. Pastuerized.

Herdsman
A really nice batch from July milk. Barnyardy, notes of bread n butter, walnuts, and cultured cream. Raw.

Putting the Grass in Grass-fed Milk

Dearest Quesophiles,
 
With the cows out on pasture we are really starting to see the seasonal change in our milk. After a long winter, I was starting to forget how great the milk looks when the cows are grazing, beautifully yellow-hued with deep golden cream. The flavor is also fantastic, and since they have been on pasture, I’ve been drinking copious amounts of it with my breakfast.
 
Yes, spring is very much in the air on the farm. The apples are blossoming, the dandelions are going to seed, and there are people strolling the fields as they wander the farm (which is open to visits 7 days a week, btw). The sweet peas and broccoli rabe in our kitchen garden are growing taller by the hour, the garlic has awoken from its winter slumber, and is a few feet tall now. It is certainly an exciting time to be on the farm.
 
Below is a batch of Buttercup in the morning light on day two of production. On the second day Buttercup Brie is carefully salted, weighed, and it’s acid level measured before it is stowed away to begin the transformation from bland curd to buttery, fluffy goodness. 
 
Buttercup Brie, Day Two.

Buttercup Brie, Day Two.

Cheeses of the week:
 
Full Nettle Jack: Spicy oregano and lemon notes shining through from the nettles. Spring and summer wheels 2015. Raw Milk.
 
Buttercup Brie: Limited availability. This batch is from 3/15/16. Notes of cultured cream and buttered button mushrooms.
 
Herdsman: Wheels from November. Nice wheels with creamy farmhouse flavor. 3-4 # baskets too from Sept/October have a really nice piquant quality. Raw Milk.
 
HavilahSept/ October 2014 batches. Caramel, grass, pineapple, hints of hazelnut, lasting, unfolding flavors. These are some really wonderful batches. Raw Milk.
 
Lawrenceville Jack: Our usual creamy grass-fed, mac n cheese buddy. Fall batches, well balanced. Raw Milk.
 
Enjoy your weekend! Thanks for supporting our farmstead cheeses.
Paul

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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