Man, I feel a little bit like Doogie Howser sitting down at the
keyboard this morning… Not sure why, I mean, I’m pretty sure he did
all of his philosophizing at night and so far I haven’t experienced
that weird audible interior monologue that always coincided with his
typing. Maybe I am secretly coveting the life of a sixteen-year-old
wonderboy/doctor? Selling cheese just isn’t glamorous enough? No, it
surely can’t be that. Hmmm… I guess I’ll just have to mull that one
over a little bit more on my own.
The real (non-Doogie) story this week comes from the tiny town of
Cornwall, Vermont, where Michael Lee and Emily Sunderman have a little
goat dairy called Twig Farm. If you’ve been to the shop, you’ve heard
me wax poetic about how great Twig Farm cheeses are, but now that I’ve
seen it all first hand, I have SO much more to blather about! I’ll
give you the short version here, and the long version when you come in
to the shop to taste their incredible cheese.
Michael makes his cheeses, Twig Farm Goat Tomme, Twig Wheel (aka Soft
Wheel) and Square Cheese from the milk of his 17 goats, which are
mostly Alpine with a tiny touch of Nubian. Alpine milk, like Jersey
milk in the cow cheese world, is very rich and fine, giving the cheese
a superior texture, taste, and overall quality. Nubian goats, on the
other hand are super cute and have those long floppy ears that make me
giggle like a three-year-old who has just been given a cupcake. As to
the nutritional aspects of their milk, I’ll have to do further
The thing that really makes their cheese really special is this: The
goats are reared on a diet that is 95% pasture and ‘browse’ (i.e.
trees, shoots, brambles and other goodies the goats find in the field)
which means that each goat gives less milk overall, but that the milk
is richly concentrated in flavor and truly has terroir, just like
wine! After following Michael around the pasture and hearing him
point out innumerable native grasses, herbs, and plants that ‘the
girls’ get to munch on, I got it. The goats are what they eat. And
they are eating incredibly varied and delicious stuff. When you taste
Michael and Emily’s cheeses, you’ll see what I mean.
If you’d like to hear more about Twig Farm, don’t despair! I will
write even more in the coming days on the blog!