Via RealMilk.com, Arkansas has now legalized on-farm sales of raw cow and goat milk:
Beginning in July 2013, Arkansas farms will be allowed to sell up to 500 gallons of unpasteurized cow milk per month, and up to 500 gallons of unpasteurized goat milk per month, directly to consumers. It will still be illegal to sell unpasteurized milk at farmers markets or other retail outlets. Under the new law, farmers will be required to post a sign on the farm and label unpasteurized products with a standardized label noting that the milk is unpasteurized. Neither the farm nor the cows will be inspected by the state, and the buyer assumes all liability should any health problems arise from consuming the raw milk.
This new law is not only exciting for the consumers who rely on raw milk’s nutrients for health benefits, but also for the farmers who see economic opportunity in taking advantage of the emerging raw milk market – raw milk often sells for $6-$8 per gallon. As the market continues to evolve and more farms begin to offer unpasteurized products, it will be interesting to see where costs stabilize and how farms brand themselves to stand out from the herd.
Read the full story.
(Photo ©2013 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
This little crottin resembles some of the classic goat’s milk cheeses of the Loire Valley, but actually hails from Kempense Geitenkaas, a creamery in Lichtaart, Belgium, north of Antwerp in the region of Flanders. Paul D’Haene and Veerle Minsaer have been making cheese since 1979, focusing on goat, in country that is known almost exclusively for its cow’s milk cheeses (the trappist style cheeses being the best known, such as the Le Charmoix, recently reviewed). Paul even says that “the goat is the cow of the poor farmer”, but there’s nothing impoverished about the cheeses that he’s making with their milk.
The aged 5oz crottin has a textured, stony amber exterior, opening to reveal a chalky white interior, the paste creamy and fudgy with a bit more proteolysis at the rind. The aroma is yeasty and fruity; the flavor is milky and bright with citrus notes and a distinct sour, tangy, overtone.
Purchased at Formaggio Essex.
Last Saturday, I found myself on an early morning train, traveling up to Bedford Hills, NY, to visit Arattom, the new farmstead cheesemaking operation helmed by Jon Bonanno. The property on which Jon has established his new venture is actually Rainbeau Ridge, the farm of Lisa Schwartz, maker of the excellent Meridian cheese, a fresh goat’s milk cheese that was highly esteemed by cheesemongers and restaurants alike (you can see it here on a cheeseplate from Casellula), and took a 1st Place Ribbon at the American Cheese Society Competition in 2010. Martha Stewart, a Bedford Hills neighbor, even toured the farm and featured it on her blog in 2011, and Schwarz wrote a book about her experiences, “Over The Rainbeau:Living the dream of sustainable farming”. The farm is compact and efficient, the goats, llamas, chickens, turkeys and wandering guinea hens all tucked into the idyllic landscape surrounding the farmhouse, with the cheese plant a small structure, immaculate and well-maintained, with vat pasteurizers, draining tables, chilling tanks, workstations and sinks all tucked in like Tetris pieces into their proper place.
Lisa has recently gone on sabbatical from Rainbeau Ridge, and Jon, who has worked at Rainbeau Ridge with Lisa for a couple years — not to mention being a former monger at Saxelby’s and putting in time at Consider Bardwell, Cavaniola’s and other cheese-related ventures — stepped in to keep the goats milking and the cheese flowing while she’s gone. He’ll be working under his own label, Arattom, and will be producing several cheeses, including the Cinder, a fresh, ash-coated pasteurized goat’s milk wheel with a center ash line that is similar to the Meridian; an uncoated wheel called Clover; fresh Chevre (which he is currently supplying to Blue Hill at Stone Barn) and a goat’s milk Feta. Arattom also has some other cheeses in the works, including a washed rind tomme and other cheeses in development.
While there I got the chance to make cheese with Jon, taking part in the makes for the Cinder and Clover, as well as one of the experimental Tomme recipes which Arattom is currently working on. Also pitching in was Yoav Perry, fellow urban cheesemaker, hardcore culture nerd and the man behind ArtisanGeek.com, a new cheesemaking supply company based in NYC (check out his site for cultures, moulds and much more. You can hear Yoav on a recent episode of Cutting The Curd with Sascha Davies and Diane Stemple).
For the Cinder and Clover, The goats milk is pasteurized, starter cultures and a small amount of microbial rennet added and then the milk allowed to culture for as many as 24 hours to develop the desired depth and complexity of flavor. From there it gets carefully ladeled into the molds in 6 passes; after the 3rd pass, if the fabrication is for Cinder, a layer of ash is sprinkled on the curds, and the following three layers than carefully laid down on top of it. When it has drained sufficiently, the wheels are unmolded, and the outer layer of ash and salt applied, and the wheels go into cheese coolers to age. Jon makes maximal use of the limited space, operating like a well-oiled machine to keep the wheels moving from vat to moulds to draining tables to coolers, each step making room for the following step.
The finished product, in the Cinder, is a bright, fresh, milky cheese, with a soft, fudgy paste and citric and grassy notes, balanced nicely by the ashy coat.
The day started with Cinder and Clover, but moved on to taste-testing the newest batch of Feta (which was delicious, although Jon would like to finesse the recipe to produce a softer, creamier feta rather than a firm version), and the fabrication of a test batch of a pasteurized goat’s milk tomme. We’ll know in a few weeks how that one came out!
Coach Farm has created a new, raw goat’s milk cheese, and now they’ve partnered with Culture Magazine to find a name for it! As part of the “Hello My Name Is” competition, they have sent a big box of samples of this new cheese to 6 cheese bloggers — including yours truly — to taste and review the new cheese, post photographs, and even feature a giveaway of Coach Farm goodies. See the previous post for the full details or my tasting notes post for the new cheese.
Check out the video above to see Culture’s Kate Arding discuss the cheese with Coach’s head cheesemaker, Mark Newbold.
Named for the wild pennyroyal mint flowers that carpet the meadows of their farm, Pennyroyal Farmstead is a fairly new cheesemaking operation, locating in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino, California, about 2.5 hours north of San Francisco, on the sixty acres of Navarro Winery. Sustainability is a high priority for the farm, with electricity supplied by solar panels, waste reclaimed for agricultural applications and an army of miniature sheep keeping the lawns mowed. The goats, in their daily foraging, wend their way through the vines and help keep the weeds at bay.
They’ve been a sheep farm for over 25 years, but the goats only arrived five years ago, and the cheesemaking began in earnest after that, with the first cheeses making it to market only in the spring of 2012. The cheesemaking is still small-scale, with the daily makes happening in a 50-gallon vat, working primarily with goat’s milk but also doing mixed-milk sheep and goat’s milk cheeses as seasonality permits.
I first heard about their cheeses when Kirstin Jackson raved about their Boont Corners cheese on her It’s Not You, It’s Brie blog. I contacted them to inquire about availability on the East Coast; the bad news was that they are not currently available on this side of the country, but the good news (for me) was that they were happy to send me a sample box to try their cheeses! California readers should keep an eye out for them (and see the end of this post for details about their Farm To Table mail order program).
The first cheese I tried was Laychee, a fresh cheese that is made with goat and sheep while the sheep are still milking, but goes to pure goat later on. This is a mild, bright, milky cheese, in the vein of a queso fresco or fromage blanc, with a creamy, lightly grainy texture and a wonderful cottage-cheesey flavor to it. This would make a great breakfast cheese, with fresh fruit or in a crepe, or as a bruschetta topper with honey.
The next cheese was the Bollie’s Mollies, a lactic bloomy rind goat’s milk cheese. The rind is the dusty blue-gray color of a Selles-Sur-Cher, but the cheese itself is firmer, a soft but not runny creamline surrounding a firm, fudgy center. This is a mild, salty cheese with a smooth mouthfeel, a little bit musty in aroma, with subtle goaty and grassy notes.
After that was the Boont Corners, which came in three varieties: Two-Month Tomme, Vintage Tomme (aged four to six months) and the Reserve Tomme, which is aged over six months, and in this case was a mixed-milk raw sheep and goat’s milk cheese (although I’m not sure if it’s always mixed milk). All three were aged in a thin paper layer that covers the rind to protect the interior and control moisture loss.
The Two-month had a stony, textured tan rind, and an ivory, moist paste, moderately eyed. The flavor was mild, milky and salty, a little bit tangy, with gamey and herbaceous notes.
The Vintage tomme, although in theory just an older Boont, had a different rind from the Two-month, smoother, with less irregularity and texture. The paste as well was smoother, with fewer eyes and a creamy, denser, dryer texture. The flavory was more developed and multilayered, a bit saltier, the tanginess of the two-month aged out, with wonderful subtle smokey and meaty notes and a mellow finish.
The Reserve Tomme, with the addition of Sheep’s milk, resembled a good pecorino, with a rind similar to the Two-month Boont but a paste that was golden colored, moderately eyed, and with a harder, dryer, crumbly texture, with trademark hints of buttery oil from the sheep’s milk. The flavor was salty, rich and nutty, with caramel, lanolin and grassy notes.
All of the cheeses I tried from Boont were great, with the Vintage Tomme being the real standout. Unfortunately, as noted, they’re not available on the East Coast, but Pennyroyal has a “Farm To Table” mail order program that you can subscribe to, which entitles you to a shipment of three seasonal cheeses, five times a year. Learn more at www.pennyroyalfarm.com/table/.
How would you like to name this cheese? How about winning a sample of it from Cheese Notes, along with other cheeses from Coach Farm and an insulated cheese bag? Check out the details here!
“Hello My Name Is”: Tasting Notes
Coach Farm has created a new, raw goat’s milk cheese, and now they have partnered with Culture Magazine to find a name for it! As part of the “Hello My Name Is” competition, they have sent a big box of samples of this new cheese to 6 cheese bloggers — including yours truly — to taste and review the new cheese, post photographs, and even feature a giveaway of Coach Farm goodies. See the previous post for the full details and a little bit about the history of Coach Farm! But now let’s get into the cheese:
Tasting: Raw Goat Cheese
The wheel is large, around 8 inches in diameter and 4 inches in height. The Rind is firm and thin, an even blanket of snowy white mold over a pinkish-brown underlayer. There is a thick ivory creamline just under the rind, the sign of proteolysis beginning to breakdown and liquify the paste, but oozing is minimal even as it warms, just a light bulging outwards and no liquid runniness, indicating a balanced aging. Beneath the creamline the paste is evenly developed, smooth, and crumbly with a beautiful fudgy texture, a little bit chalky.
The aroma of the cheese is bright, citric and milky, with a distinctly yogurt-y quality and hints of mushroom and mold. The flavor is well-balanced, excellent salt levels, tangy and creamy, with subtle mineral and floral notes, and a touch of gamey sharpness and bitterness at the creamline. This is a mild but complex cheese with a very clean finish; the best bite includes a bit of paste, creamline and rind.
I tried the cheese with a few pairings as well; the first was with Kimchi (hat tip to cheese master Tia Keenan for introducing me to the kimchi/goat cheese concept); the fiery bite of the kimchi was tempered by the cheese while also bringing out fruity and sweet notes in the cheese. The second was a pickled beet, which was also lovely, although it’s hard to go wrong with the beet and goat cheese combo, they just pair very naturally. The third was with honey from the Brooklyn Honey CSA; while the components of the pairing were delicious on their own, the cheese was a little lost under the assertive, complex sweetness of the honey.
I have to say, I’m quite curious about the culture blend and the aging protocol that’s being used with this cheese: being a raw milk cheese, they are required to age it for at least 60 days, which would normally be a long time for a cheese of this style. The development of the creamline, the moisture levels and the intensity level of the flavors are closer to what I would expect from a younger cheese of this style. There’s clearly been a lot of tweaking and finessing with the make and affinage, to create a wheel that can age for that long a period without over-ripening, either in the direction of being overripe, or hardness.
So now, it’s your turn! Do you have any ideas for a name for this cheese? Get over to the Hello My Name Is page on the Culture Magazine site, and submit your naming ideas! You can read my previous post to get a sense for the history of Coach Farm (or check out their site), perhaps that will inspire you as well.
Personally, I like the idea of a name that pays tribute to the terroir of their farm: perhaps Hudson River Goat, or Taghkanic Bloom. But that’s not for me to choose, get over to Hello My Name Is and submit your own ideas! And don’t forget to add a comment to this post describing your favorite goat cheese pairing, for a chance to win the Coach Farm goodie bag.
How would you like to name a cheese? Not just any cheese, but a new, raw, goat’s milk cheese from one of America’s top goat cheese producers? Well now, you have the chance, thanks to the Culture Magazine “Hello My name Is” contest! Check out my review of the cheese in the next post.
The black and red logo of Coach Farm probably looks familiar to you; since Miles and Lillian Cahn started Coach in 1985, they have grown the farm into one of the signature goat cheese brands on the market. The Cahn’s are actually the original family behind the Coach handbag brand and that’s where they first made their fortune, before deciding to “retire” upstate a couple hours north of Manhattan, near Pine Plains, NY, with big plans of a relaxing life restoring an abandoned farm to working order and starting a goat creamery to create French-style cheeses for the New York City market.
Needless to say, the “relaxing” part of the plan never quite happened; they soon realized just how much time, work and dedication it would take to get the farm up and running and the cheese moving. Rather than give up, they sold Coach Leatherware (ironically, to the Sara Lee Corporation, so a large food company was expanding into leather goods even as they were moving into food production) and moved to the farm full time.
The story has a happy ending, as evidenced by the ubiquity of Coach in cheese cases (mostly on the East Coast but expanding healthily) and their frequent successes at the American Cheese Society competitions. Despite the challenges, they have now expanded to a 1000+ herd and are producing a variety of fresh, aged and flavored pasteurized goat’s milk cheeses. If you want to learn more about their journey from high-fashion bags to wheels of cheese, check out Miles’ book “The Perils and Pleasures of Domesticating Goat Cheese” for a behind-the-scenes, and often hilarious, look at the realities of goat farming and cheesemaking.
All of which brings us to the present day! Coach Farm is now working on their first aged cheese made with RAW goat’s milk cheese. After a lot of R&D and trial and error this beautiful cake of a wheel is finally getting close to being market-ready. But now they need a name!
That’s where YOU come in. Coach Farm, in collaboration with Culture Magazine, has selected 6 bloggers — including yours truly — to taste and review the “Raw Goat Cheese”. Readers can then go to the Culture “Hello My name Is” website and submit their own ideas for a new name. Given Coach’s success, it’s likely that the winning selection will be seen in cheese cases for years to come and may garner ribbons at domestic and international competitions, so think hard!
And there’s more: submit your favorite goat cheese pairing in the comments section, and Cheese Notes will select the best pairing and award the winner a Coach Farm insulated cheese bag (perfect for that summer picnic), containing samples of Coach Farm cheeses, including a wedge of the new cheese!
The Cheese Notes review for this cheese will be featured in the next post; submissions to either this post or that one will be considered in the competition, but duplicate submissions will only be counted once.
(Anonymous comments will not be eligible. Winner will be announced on the site and in the comments section, and I will contact you directly if possible.)
Looking for a job in cheesemaking? Edgwick Farm, in Cornwall, NY, is looking for a Cheese Room Assistant. I visited Edgwick back in July 2012, you can see my post about it here, or check out the Edgwick page on Facebook. This sounds like a great opportunity for someone looking to learn all about farmstead cheesemaking and goat dairy operations:
We are a farmstead goat cheese makers based in Cornwall, NY. We have a micro-dairy and creamery, milk 45 Nubian and Alpine goats and make nine varieties of goat milk cheeses. We sell at five or more farmer’s markets and over twenty restaurants in the Hudson Valley. We have just completed our first year of operation and are starting our second. We started up cheese production again in January. We focus on making our aged cheeses in the winter and turn to our fresh cheeses when the farmer’s markets start in June through October.
We seek a self-motivated, meticulous, and creative person interested in learning the craft of cheese making. The position is full time (about 40 hours/week - there is some flexibility, maybe more during the summer) starting April 1 through the end of October.
• Assist with basic processes of cheesemaking and affinage
• Assist with cheese packaging
• Maintain accurate, detailed records
• Maintain hygienic conditions including routine daily cleaning and intensive weekly cleaning
• Prepare and organize cheeses for farmers’ markets and other sales outlets
• Sell cheese at farmers’ markets.
We are able to offer a weekly stipend based on experience.
If interested, email your resume and a description of yourself and interests to Talitha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Via Planet Earth Online, news that wild goat populations could move into previously inhospitable areas as northern latitudes warm due to anthropogenic climate change:
Global warming could cause goat populations to rocket
20 March 2013, by Harriet Jarlett
Higher temperatures caused by global warming could help goat populations to thrive, say scientists.
A new study, published in Oikos, shows that two major factors are important for goats survival – daylight hours and temperature – which get worse the further north you are.
‘The further north they go, the more the goats are trapped by a combination of the costs of thermoregulation and declining vegetation quality, both of which require them to spend more time feeding. But winter day lengths get shorter as you go further north. There comes a point where those two opposing forces crash together and they run out of time. That’s the point north of which goats can’t live,’ explains Dunbar.
But as the climate changes – bringing warmer temperatures – goats need less food and less time foraging to survive. ‘As the climate warms, goats will be able to live further north. It’s about one degree latitude further north for every one degree warmer in mean annual temperature. Although here in the UK this may be offset by changes in the Gulf stream and other climate factors,’ says Dunbar.
High latitude goat populations, like the one the team studied on the Isle of Rum, were teetering on the balance of maintaining their numbers. ‘Rum is very close to the northern limit for goats in Britain so it’s no surprise that they’re only just about able to hold their own. In better years the population builds a bit and then in a bad year it falls, mainly thanks to low fertility and high kid mortality. The population seemed to be oscillating comfortably around a decent mean for many decades,’ Dunbar says.
Recently though, many of these northerly populations have thrived and begun to show signs of increasing. Dunbar thinks this is an effect of the increase in temperature as a result of climate warming.
Read the full post.
(Photo © Wikipedia/Creative Commons - 2004 Dirk Beyer)