Being up in Burlington, Vermont at the moment (taking VIAC classes in order to complete my certification), I thought this story, of a Vermont farmer and his dreams of delivering produce to NYC via boat, was apropos. Via Inhabitat:
Vermont farmer Erik Andrus wants to bring an entirely new approach to the growing farm-to-table food trend by sailing his produce down the Hudson River to NYC. Andrus recently launched a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of funding a $15,000 project to build a sailboat named Ceres – the Roman goddess of grain and agriculture – to get his idea off the ground and into the water. If successful, the model could be a new way for consumers and restaurants to purchase fresh food directly from independent farmers and growers.
Check out the Kickstarter Campaign to learn more about this “sail-powered food-trading adventure connecting the farms and forests of Lake Champlain with the Lower Hudson Valley”.
Lincolnshire Poacher, from Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, is a shapeshifter — flavor-shifter might be a more accurate description — of a cheese. Fashioned for the most part in the style of a traditional British wheel, it nonetheless has distinct alpine qualities up front before finishing as a solid cheddar.
Despite it’s traditional-sounding name and provenance, the Poacher is actually one of the new generation of British cheeses. Produced by brothers Simon and Tim Jones on their farm at Ulceby Grange in the Lincolnshire region of England, cheesemaking began in the early 90’s, using the organic raw milk of their herd of East Friesian cows. Welsh cheesemaker Dougal Campbell, the man behind Tyn Gryg cheese, got them started, before Richard Tagg came on board as head cheesemaker. Made in 44lb wheels and based on a modified Somerset Cheddar recipe and is natural-rinded rather than being cloth-bound like most British cheddars.
The natural rind on the Poacher is gray-brown and dusty with a stony surface, flaking off in spots. The paste is a yellow-golden color, towards amber near the rind, firm, smooth and a bit crumbly, eyeless but with occasional fissures and cracks. The aroma is more towards the alpine side of the spectrum, but the flavor is where the complexity really kicks in. The cheese starts out more like an alpine, buttery, sweet, nutty and fruity with distinct pineapple notes. As the flavor develops in your mouth, however, the cheddary character kicks in, sharp, salty and grassy with a tingle on the tongue and finishing strong. This cheese sneaks up on you, in a great way, dare I say like a poacher stalking his prey through the woods (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Purchased at Murray’s.
On March 29 and 30, 2013, our organization will host the annual Just Food Conference. This two-day event will offer opportunities for the general public, food professionals, entrepreneurs, job seekers, CSA members, community organizers and farmers to come together for two days of workshops and skill- building sessions. The conference will provide attendees with opportunities to learn about national farm and food issues, CSA trends, and cooking and food preservation techniques, as well as ways to mobilize communities in order to increase access to farm-fresh, locally grown food.
On Friday from 5:30pm-7:30pm, Just Food and Good Food Jobs will co-host the Good Food Jobs Get Together, a networking event for conference participants and the job-seeking public. On Saturday, we’ll host an EXPO from 12pm-6:30pm featuring exemplary local food artisans, sustainable businesses, and organizations. At the end of the conference, we will host a closing reception from 4:30pm - 6:30pm at the EXPO. We hope you will join us!
Friday, March 29 - Saturday, March 30
8:00 - 7:30PM on Friday
8:00 - 6:30PM on Saturday
Food & Finance High School (Sign outside of the building reads Park West High School)
525 West 50th Street, New York, NY
Tickets going fast, get them here.
Cutting the Curd - Episode 123 - Peter Kindel's Cheese Path
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Mont Vully cheese, made by Fromagerie Schafer in Cressier in the Fribourg Canton of Switzerland. Historically, the cheese plant had produced Emmentaler, but when Ewald Schafer took over in 1993, he felt that Emmentaler should only be made in Emmental, and set out instead to create a new cheese to honor their unique terroir.
From that came Mont Vully — named for the mountain on which it is made and upon which the grapes for the wine wash is grown — which proved so popular that they were soon able to stop production of Emmentaler altogether and focus on this new cheese.
Mont Vully is in the vein of the classic Swiss alpines, made with organic milk from the grass-fed cows of Müller & Sahli Bio-Milch. During aging it is washed several times a week with Pinot Noir from neighboring vineyards, giving it a distinct red rind. The paste is semi-firm, smooth and creamy, strong in aroma thanks to the washing but milder in flavor, meaty, grassy and with a nice nuttiness and fruity notes.
Pecorino Balze Volteranne, from Fattoria Lischeto in Tuscany. Made in the shadow of the Balze di Volterra, or Cliffs of Volterra, for which it is named. A raw sheep’s milk organic Pecorino, it’s aged in oak barrels for 60 days, after which the rind is covered with a thick coating of oak and olive ash — hence the gray dusting on the cheese slate in the picture, as the ash shakes off liberally when you handle the cheese. The ash serves to slow down mold development on the rind, as well as retain moisture.
With a firm, lightly eyed paste which has a bit of the oil associated with sheep’s milk hard cheeses, in flavor it is on the mild side but with a full nuttiness and musky, lipase notes. The Balze Volteranne uses a vegetable coagulant of wild artichoke, which gives it a slight but pleasant vegetal bitterness. The ash imparts a distinct flavor, a smoked, woody oakiness that fuses with the flavors of the paste beautifully.
Purchased at Foragers in DUMBO.
a photo from the Tumblr for Sawkill Farm, in Red Hook, NY (the town upstate, not the Brooklyn neighborhood). The name comes from the Sawkill Creek that runs through the farm. Michael and Saundra, the young farmers who run Sawkill, sell amazing meat, eggs and produce at the Columbia University Greenmarket and the Jackson Heights Greenmarket. (No milk for sale yet but that might come in the future). There’s also an on-site farm store in development which will be on Rte 9, just north of Red Hook, opening soon (see their location in google maps).
In their recent Dairy issue, Edible Manhattan has the heartbreaking story behind the sudden demise of Milk Thistle Farm, as seen through the lens of Milk Thistle’s once thriving — and delicious — relationship with Chef Christina Tosi and Momofuku Milk Bar:
Christina Tosi is still reeling. The normally high-spirited chef and co-owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, the sugary offshoot of David Chang’s mini-empire, has just gotten some very bad news: Farmer Dante Hesse, who owned a tiny organic dairy called Milk Thistle Farm in Columbia County, and whose milk Tosi regards as the single most important ingredient in her kitchen, is going out of business, the result of a quiet but crippling six-year battle with a seven-figure debt.
“We have such a close relationship with Dante and his family, we believed so much in them and just had so much love for their product,” Tosi said a few days after hearing the news. “I’m heartbroken.”
Milk Thistle’s sudden closure in late January came as a surprise to all—the dairy’s diehard shoppers at the Greenmarkets were stunned—but the news was particularly devastating for Tosi, who views Milk Thistle and Milk Bar as spiritual counterparts, two small, scrappy businesses that grew together and shared a fierce determination to write their own rules and build something without compromising…
…Up until Hesse turned off the spigot in late January, Tosi was going through 100 gallons a week of perhaps the most expensive milk on the East Coast—and says it was worth every penny. And maybe she was being modest, but Tosi really seemed sincere when she said the milk—an ingredient most cooks regard as a blank slate, an interchangeable commodity— was the reason her desserts taste so good.
As a dedicated consumer of Milk Thistle’s products (and my hometown, Philmont, also being just down the road from their farm), I was shocked by the news as well, learning of it when I went to my neighborhood farmer’s market with empty Thistle bottle in hand to exchange and was informed by the folks manning the Grazin’ Angus stand of the bad news. It is such a shame, their milk really was top-notch and their dedication to organic and biodynamic (the quote on the bottle, just above the USDA Organic stamp, is from Rudolph Steiner) farming methods evident. Here’s hoping Dante and his family decide to give dairy farming another try.
(The photo is of my remaining empty Milk Thistle bottle, good only for flowers now)
The Grazin Burger with Consider Bardwell’s Pawlett cheese: a delicious, locally sourced organic/biodynamic burger, at Grazin’ in Hudson, NY. They’ve gotten some media attention as the nation’s first “Animal Welfare Approved Restaurant”, and the food is pretty tasty as well. All ingredients are sourced from local suppliers, from the meat — which comes from the farm run by the owners of the diner, Grazin Acres — to the buns, which come from the Hawthorne Valley bakery, to the cheese, which comes from a variety of sources, including Hawthorne Valley and Consider Bardwell.
My one suggestion would be that they expand the menu a little. If a burger is what you’re after Grazin’ is just the ticket, but the menu beyond that is quite limited, just a few other items really. It would be nice to get a broader array of choices, and also maybe some steaks or other cuts of meat, as I know that we, and I suspect others, went there expecting more of a full diner menu.
To recognize and raise awareness of the quality and diversity of American cheeses
To support and promote great cheese, local foods, family farms, traditional methods, and sustainable production models
To generate funding for the American Cheese Education Foundation – if you hold an event, please consider donating a portion of proceeds to help the American cheese community educate its members and the public. Your donation helps ensure the highest quality, safest, most wholesome, and diverse cheeses can reach consumers via well-trained and certified folks behind your local cheese counter.
Although perhaps it should be the “American Cheese(s) Month” to avoid people thinking it’s a celebration of Kraft Singles ;)