This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers
Who’s a Lazy Lady?!
It’s finally time for me to quit my winter whining and prepare the cheese cave for a veritable onslaught of fresh, tangy and incredible goat cheese! At Lazy Lady Farm, the goats are in full tilt, churning out plenty of fresh milk that Laini Fondiller, cheese maker and force to be reckoned with, is transforming into a menagerie of soft-ripened cheese. Stop by on Wednesday to snag a piece of her much coveted fromage!
Lazy Lady Farm is located way up in the great green yonder of Vermont in the little town of Westfield, pretty much within spitting distance of the Canadian border. The whimsical name most certainly does not apply to Laini, who’s got more gumption and hard work ethic than pretty much anyone I’ve ever met. Her little ladies (the does that is) are the lazy ones, and lucky to boot, receiving more t.l.c and good goat lovin’ than they know what to do with. But that’s just one part of what makes her cheese so dang good.
Laini got her start ladling curd in Vermont over 15 years ago, when nobody but nobody was making goat cheese, and the large co-ops (Cabot and the like) dominated the Vermont cheese-scape. Laini had grown up in Indiana milking cows and loved the farm life, but reckoned there had to be a better, more stimulating way to make a living from milk. So she did what any bovine enthusiast would do (yeah right!) and jetted off to Corsica for a stint as a shepherdess and some-time cheese maker. It was in Corsica, which she claims was the best job she ever had, that she discovered the utter glory and cootie-rific wonder of cheese. Why cootie-rific, you ask? Well, the folks she was making cheese with up in the mountains did so in the no nonsense, laissez-mother nature-faire way that takes raw milk cheese to dazzling and barnyardy heights of flavor. When she returned home, she began to tweak the recipes she learned across the pond and came up with some little gems all her own.
Now, it’s not quite as simple as that. No sir. Laini started off by bootstrapping and making 15 gallon batches of cheese on her stovetop, selling to enthusiastic local folks at the Montpelier farmers market, ’till she got so good, and so popular that the regulators (cue Star Wars Darth Vader theme here…) came to her and said she’d better get herself a proper cheese house right quick or else. Now, those inspectors were the same ones who oversaw behemoth cheese making operations like Cabot, and couldn’t quite wrap their heads around why Laini would want do something as goofy as making goat cheese.
My guess is that after tasting her cheese they saw the light, but that still didn’t make it any easier for her to set up shop. Lazy Lady Farm and a few other tiny pioneer cheese operations literally helped write the book for small cheese production in the state of Vermont. And thank goodness they did, because the farmstead cheese movement is flourishing there like nowhere else, and we all get to reap (and eat) the benefits.
So what are we anticipating this week from Lazy Lady Farm? Well, it’s hard to be sure. Being an endlessly curious cheese maker, Laini invents a new cheese pretty much every week, taking us with her on an oh-so-delicious tour de chevre. Last year, just to name a few, we were treated to Tomme de Lay, Condisend, Marbarella, Trillium, Crumb Cake, La Roche, Demitasse, La Petite Tomme… (you get the idea) So, if you’ve got a hankering for something goaty, come on in and see what those Lazy Ladies have been up to over the winter. Mischief… of the first order!
Don’t Forget! Saxelby Cheesemongers Day A-Whey Trip to Mecox Bay Dairy is Sunday, May 4th. Check out the website for more details!