Hey?!? Who’s a graduate school graduate?

ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That’s right kids. This cheesemonger’s wife graduated. No more 12 page papers on hemodynamic monitoring…no more midterms and finals…and best of all…NO MORE 4am wake up calls! Whew….thought this day would never come. But, I have to be honest. Now that it’s over….I’m having a bit of separation anxiety. I don’t know what to do with myself. I still feel guilty spending hours down at Gelateria Tavolini or Foundation Grounds NOT studying Nursing but blogging, catching up on my aimless internet browsing and reading my Kindle. Continue reading

Here goes nothing….

Well, the garden is in. Simon and I have been working on the test garden down at the farm for the past couple weeks. With both of us working full time, and me finishing my last semester of grad school….it took us awhile but we finally made some headway. I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures to show yet…but soon we will have some video/photos of the farm to share. Looks like there will be some film students doing the initial filming of the beginning of the farm and I’m very excited about that. I want to document this amazing opportunity we have and just don’t have the time to do both the filming and the farming. Continue reading

Filmmaker/Photographer Needed for farm project!

To all my friends in film/photography: I am in search of someone (or a group of someones) to document the start of our life on the farm. If I haven’t talked about it enough already, my husband Simon and I are embarking on a new journey of sorts. We’ve been given the great gift of a large parcel of land in Festus, MO to start a farm and cheesemaking business. We have grand plans for the farm and are looking for someone to document the process from start to finish. It is an opportunity for you to film us from the very first planting to when the animals arrive and we start making our own cheese.

If you know me, you know that I am a city girl at heart….so this is going to be a major departure from my norm….but I have to be honest ans say that I am VERY EXCITED about this new venture.
So, who’s up for the job? This would be a great opportunity for a film student to do a project…or a novice photographer to get some experience. We won’t be able to offer a salary/payment for your services. But you will get as much veg/cheese/wool that you can use as the years pass. It would also be necessary for you to be in the southeastern MO area/St. Louis area.

Drop me a line if you want to give it a shot!

Cheesemaker of the Week:Star Thrower Farms

School started again….and my posts will be few and far between.

Until next time, check out this amazing sheep farm in Minnesota

Star Thrower Farms

***select products availabe at The Wine Merchant in Clayton

This may be my new home…still working out the details..

but things are looking good.

Kunik…it’s all the craze. Cheesemaker of the Week: Nettle Meadow Farm

If you have been reading The Novice Foodie or my Twitter posts then you may have some idea about Kunik. Kunik is a triple cream cheese made in Thurman, NY by Nettle Meadow Farm. Owned by Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan, Nettle Meadow Farm is nestled on a cozy 50 acres just below Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks.

Kunik is a white-mold ripened cheese made from goat milk  and jersey cow cream. It has a delicate bloomy rind that smells sweet and grassy…but the inside yields a unctuous and buttery cheese with gracious tang.  Perfect on a slice of baguette topped with fruit chutney….or just slathered graciously on a toasted bagel.

Best at room temperature (like ALL CHEESE), Kunik has a permanent space on our kitchen counter.  Delicate and powerful…Kunik is by far becoming the favorite cheese of us here in St. Louis.  It is by far, my current obsession….delivered in small dreamy little rounds it doesn’t last long once cut into.  To be honest…I don’t think we have ever failed at finishing off the round once we got started.

The current batch at cheese counter at The Wine Merchant is by far the best we’ve had in Missouri……and that is saying a lot because ever subsequent batch and been perfect.

A break in the action…

Well, I have one more final next week and then I will be on holiday from University until mid January!!!  I am looking forward to doing some serious blogging over my break!  Lots of new cheeses have arrived in St. Louis…new farms are on the horizon (possibly including OURS!!) and great new cheesemakers are popping up all over the States!

Over this Holiday season…make an effort to seek out a local cheese maker/cheesemonger in your area.  Select a locally produced cheese or dairy product!  You are not only supporting a local, sustainable business…but you are ensuring a long heritage of artisanal foods in our country!

Summer Farm Internships

I cannot begin to tell you how many emails I receive regarding summer internships at our yet-to-exist farm…so…from now on…check out this site.  It will be of great help to those looking for internships and apprenticeships on sustainable farms.

Sustainable Farm Internships and Apprenticeships

I look forward to the day when I can make college kids work for food and shelter.

Returning home….

It’s been a long year (well…7 months to be exact).  But by the time we return to STL permanently, it will have been a year.  I am looking forward to getting back home, close to friends and family…and especially to the city that I have come to love all over again.  I was born and raised in StL.  I left as soon as I found a car able to handle the drive….but after my years of living away from my hometown, I found myself falling in love with it when I moved back in 2004…seeing it through new, unbiased eyes….gosh, I can’t wait to get back.

We plan on doing a bit of a detour before heading home.  We will leave PHX and take a round about way home…heading over to L.A., up Hwy 101 to Napa…the Oregon Coast…up to Victoria BC….over to Glacier NP….through Montana and N. Dakota…across Minnesota…stopping in Glidden, WI to spend some time with Grandma & Grandpa…then a straight shot down to St. Louis. …then catching our breath for a couple days before flying to Massachusets for a wedding!  Whew!  It will be a whirlwind summer trip but my goodness…it will be spectacular.  4500 miles in all….over 75 hours driving time.  We hope to camp, hike…do some good eating and drinkin’…check out some dairies and meet some cheesemakers…..not bad before I head back into the final year of graduate school….

Stay tuned for a more detailed plan…and I’m always up for suggestions!!

Sweet Baby Jesus…..

there is something ROTTEN in our fridge. 

Wait…no…not rotten….it’s a smell I was once accustomed to…even fond of…ah…the smell of REAL CHEESE!!

That’s right folks…we broke down and put an order in to our friends up in the GREAT WHITE NORTH and got us some real cheese….and Tuscan SUPER ham…and olive oil…and chocolate…and some vinegars.  I must admit…the shipping rate was like a nasty slap in the face on a crisp winter day…but once the initial sting wore off…I was able to enjoy our good tidings. 

So…over the next couple days….I plan on discussing what was in our goody box. 

First up: Grayson.   It  hails from Meadow Creek Farms in the hills of southwestern Virginia. A washed-rind, raw cow’s milk cheese…Grayson, comes in a square form like Taleggio… STINKS TO HIGH HELL….but tastes so delicious.  Creamy rich…nice tang and goes perfect on a ham sammich.   Made by Meadow Creek Dairy…it’s worth the stench in your fridge.


Somebody pinch me…

i must be dreaming…Obama is our next president (Hallejluah!)  and now we have a new magazine devoted to cheese; Culture. Touted as America’s only cheese consumer magazine…it is sure to please all the cheese lovers of the US…and hopefully abroad.  The debut issue is set for December 2008.  You better believe I’ve already bought my subscription…I am so excited about this new venture.  It will be such a great outlet for increasing cheese knowledge and appreciation….

From Culture:

CULTURE, the magazine of cheese, farms, and flavor, debuts in Autumn 2008 as America’s only consumer cheese magazine. The quarterly, newsstand publication will obviously focus on cheese, which continues to grow in popularity, sales, and prestige. It will educate readers about the flavors of cheeses from the USA and around the world. It will show them the farms and dairies that produce the cheese. It will explain the science of cheesemaking. And it will provide tips on how to purchase and store cheese.
Unlike a typical gourmet lifestyle magazine, though, CULTURE taps into America’s growing awareness of local food growers, farm-to-table choices, and the desire to know the origins of our food. The magazine will blend the idea of a luxury food with a back-to-the land sensibility.
The tone will reflect the expertise of the editorial advisory board, but we will speak to readers in a friendly, encouraging manner. Our descriptions of cheeses will be enticing but realistic. Our profiles of cheesemakers will show their talent as well as their flaws and paint an honest portrait.

Cheese of the Week

Yep…that’s right…it’s CHEESE of the week. And it’s mouthwatering!!! Last night I ate it on some toasted sourdough from 222, spread thick with fresh strawberries on top. good lord, it was downright amazing! It comes from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, VT…..Constant Bliss!!!

Constant Bliss is based on a Chaource recipe, which we modified to suit our production schedule and cheesemaking facility. The result is a cheese which hardly even resembles a Chaource. It is a slow ripened lactic curd made only with fresh, right out of the cow, uncooled, evening milk. We actually begin the cheesemaking process before the cows have finished milking. Constant Bliss is made with raw whole milk. This is not a double or triple crème cheese as is sometimes thought. Seasonal variations in the milk result in variations on the surface and flavor of the cheese. We like to use Constant Bliss to highlight our milk, and rather than overpowering the natural microflora of our milk with cotton white mold, we prefer to see a mottling of diverse molds and yeasts, which are prevalent particularly in the summer months when the cows are out on grass. It is aged 60 days before it leaves the farm, and is a ‘sell it or smell it’ item for retailers.

We named Constant Bliss after a revolutionary war scout killed in Greensboro by native Americans in 1781. He was guarding the Bayley Hazen Military Road with his compatriot Moses Sleeper, who died with him.

It’s name it suitable….b/c when you eat it…you are in a state of constant bliss!!!! Very fitting.

Prairie Grass Farm EGGS!!!!!!!

They were at the TG Farmer’s Market!!! Didn’t think to ask about the doggie rumor! Just bought two dozen and boggied.

Making the ultimate breakfast sandwich right now. Egg from prairie grass, cheese from wisconsin, sausage from Heinkebein and bread from 222.

UPDATE:  So, the rumor mill says thus:  The puppies got out ate all the little chickens….not the full grown hens.  They were next years flock.  So….we will have eggs for the remainder of this season…don’t know about next.  No dogs were EVER harmed!

Who let the dogs out?….Prairie Farms is out of eggs for a while

Okay…that was a bad pun….you’ll get it after I tell you this sad story.

Prairie Grass Farms’ resident German Shepards got loose and terrorized the hen houses.  Majority of chickens were lost…and rumor has it that there will be no more eggs from Prairie Grass Farms.  So sad.  I wonder what they are going to do with the leftover chickens.  If we were in the new house I’d take them for my urban chicken project.

Cheesemakers of the Week

It’s been a while since I posted a Cheesemaker of the Week. So here it goes…..Twig Farm in West Cornwall, VT….owned by Michael Lee and Emily Sunderman. When I came across this duo…it made me even more excited about Simon and my future plans. It can be done…..Michael and Emily have proved it!

We have been in business since 2005. Our twenty-acre farm is located in West Cornwall, Vermont, about 10 miles south of Middlebury. Michael manages our herd of goats and makes and ages our cheese. Emily manages the business and marketing for Twig Farm and works as an analyst for a publishing company. Michael makes our cheese by hand using traditional techniques and equipment for farmstead cheese production. Our cheeses age in a temperature and humidity controlled enviornment in our cellar. Michael learned his craft mostly by doing. Prior to making Twig Farm cheese, Michael worked as an apprentice at Peaked Mountain Farm in Townsend, Vermont, and before that was a cheese manager at South End Formaggio in Boston, Massachusetts.