American Artisanal Cheesemakers: Introducing Baetje Farms


**cross posted at Menuism

Artisanal cheese can be found in pretty much every state in the union. I dare you to try and name a state that doesn’t have at least one dairy or creamery. Even the island of Hawaii is home to some great cheesemakers! Over my next few posts, I’ll talk about some of these great American cheesemakers, starting with my home state of Missouri. Continue reading

Baa Baa Black Sheep….


Well, things are still moving along with the farm, albeit in slow motion. This cold, snowy winter has put the kibosh on any farmhouse remodeling until the spring thaw. All of the technical/legal stuff that goes along with this farm is on track. Life is busy for us right now, that if for sure. Continue reading

Find us on Twitter!!


Both The Cheesemonger and I have Twitter accounts. My tweets are merely jovial…but The Cheesemonger keeps everyone up to date on what is coming into the shop…what he wants to see in the shop and special cheese events in St. Louis!  Look us up!

@MerchChzmonger

@Chzmongerswife

Happy Tweeting!

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!

Why did we move to Arizona? Well, let me tell you….


I apologize for not discussing this in more detail.  I have gotten all the emails asking “WHY ARIZONA”…and I’m sorry it has taken me this long to lay it on the line.

So here it goes:

We moved to Arizona to help Simon’s folks with a bit of a relocation dilema.  Background:  Simon has a brother that is 16.  Yep….he is the baby of the family.  There is a 15 year age difference between Simon and his brother.  Simon’s father builds malls. Back in the day he was one of the men that refurbished St. Louis’ Union Station (that is how Si got to St. Louis from WI)…years later he build the St. Louis Mills.  Well, as luck would have it, Simon’s dad took a postion in Arizona building not so much malls, but ‘communities’.  And as more luck would have it, the company he works for is building a new ‘community’ on the beautiful island of Kauai.  Now, the sad part comes in.   Baby brother could not move to HI with his parents b/c of school.  The school year in HI does not jive with the school year here on the mainland….so…baby brother is staying put here in AZ.  Enter the cheesemonger and his wife.  We moved to Arizono to be with Wilson while his folks do some serious commuting between HI and AZ.

There you have it.  We packed up our life in St. Louis to help out Si’s folks.  But, funny thing is….it is really helping us out as well.  We sold the house in St. Louis so that is one less thing to worry about (or pay for)…I can concentrate on going to school full time and working a traditional RN schedule (3 12 hour shifts/week) and we can hoard cash away to buy our dream farm.  It really worked out well for all parties involved.  The only downside is that we moved to the desert and left our friends and my family in St. Louis……BUT the upside is that Simon’s other brother is here in AZ with his wife and kids….so….it’s a great opportunity to spend some quality time with Simon’s family.  If his sister lived here (she’s in DC) we’d all be together.

Some have raised the question of dealing with one’s in-laws on such a personal level.  I am one of the lucky people:  I love my in-laws….it’s that plain and simple.  We get along really well….other folks are not so lucky from what I hear.

I am looking forward to this new experience.  The last time I lived with at 16 year old boy was…well, never.  By the time my brother was 16, I was at University.

This will be a learning experience.  I’ve actually learned a lot already.  For instance:  16 year old boys eat a lot….they espcially drink a lot of milk.  We’ve been here 2 weeks….I’ve been to the grocery store 5 times already…including Costco.  8 gallons of milk….that’s right 8 GALLONS!  When it was just me and Si…we didn’t go through 8 gallons a month!  But, growing boys are different…and he hasn’t even started wrestling practice yet.  And these folks are from Wisconsin, so you can only imagine how much they love thier dairy.

And to clarify our true whereabouts….we live in small town just north of Scottsdale…but we just tell everyone we moved to Phoenix b/c it’s easier than explaining where Carefree is.  Our town doesn’t get mail service….that’s how small it is.  We are about 45 mintues (without traffic) from downtown PHX.  I work at the a well known resarch hosptial (not going to name it for fear of legal action…but if you look up the hospital systems in PHX/Scottsdale…one name will jump out) in the OR now and Simon is heading up the cheese dept and a local gourmet food store….hopefully he will show these folks out here what real cheese is….cause they haven’t a clue!

So, this year will be full of suprises, challanges and lots of swimming as we now have a nice pool in our back yard.  I have a nice tan now…after getting a bit too rosy the first week.  You need to re-apply the block out here often…and you still tan.  Last night while walking the garbage out (in the dark) I heard someting rooting through the cans….I ran.  I’m still adjusting….but I’m loving it so far.  We have a list (see previous post) of new spots to try….there is a new farmer’s market going into downtown PHX and we have a very cute little local market here during the fall/winter/spring.  Most things are closed down now b/c of the unbearable heat.  But there is a cold front moving in….only 106 today.  And as much as I hate to admit it….it really is a dry heat…it’s still effing HOT but not as stifeling as St. Louis heat+humidity.

Oh…he’s in Ireland but I see his face in my daily newspaper!


My sweet husband is featured in the PD’s weekly cooking column by Joe Bonwich.

I spoke to him this evening from Maghera. He is loving every minute of it there. He won’t be able to email the videos…so look for some footage of lambing season next week when he returns.