It was a dark, misty and somewhat angsty morning…
(the picture above would lead you to believe otherwise, but I’ll get to that part later)
A group of forty or so intrepid and moderately obsessed cheese lovers was gathered outside the Essex Street Market, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, donning raincoats and jetting off for last minute cups of coffee before the departure of the big old bus.
After a sleepy, green-trees-everywhere, tranquil drive, the bus pulled up to Wolffer Vineyard, cloaked in an appropriately European kind of fog that would make Manhattan seem ugly and dour. However the vines took to it quite nicely, looking craggy and Sleepy-Hollowy and noble despite the inclement weather. After milling around rows of nascent grapes, talking trellises, training methods, and all aspects of viticulture, lunch was laid out, a menagerie of rich raw cows’ milk cheeses, Greenmarket salad, fresh bread, cured meats and dried fruits and nuts.
Come one o’clock, the group shoved off from the vineyard to Mecox Bay Dairy… farmward ho! As the bus rambled through downtown Bridgehampton, inviting more than a few wary glances and stares from the natives (after all, nothing says here comes trouble like a giant tour-ish vehicle) there seemed to be a general attitude of warming in the skies. And just as the winemaker had promised, the mist dissipated to reveal what might be one of the most pleasant sun-streaked afternoons on record.
At the farm, Art and Stacy Ludlow, farmers extraordinaires, showed off their impressive stock of pigs, chickens, ill-tempered geese, and cows. The group of cheese lovers wove their way through the old potato barn to the milking parlor, to the cheese room, and out to the calf barn, where the newbies of the herd were housed. All aspects of the farm, from the veggie growing, to the bee-keeping, to the cheese making, fit into Art and his brother Harry’s plan to re-make their fourth-generation family farm into a viable and diverse operation that serves their local community.
Last but not least, the contraband icing on the cake so to speak, Art treated everyone to a sip of raw milk from his Jersey cows. The challenge was laid out… the contenders took to their corners: pasteurized Tuscan milk from Key Foods in Brooklyn versus raw milk from Mecox Bay. Needless to say, the odds were in no way even, and when the starting bell dinged, Art’s raw milk delivered a knockout punch that sent the Tuscan reeling. Poor little guy.
But wait, there’s more! All of this madcap cheese love is available for you to see! Just click on the photo above or the link below to hopscotch through cyberspace to
our brand spankin’ new flickr page
Till the next episode of A Day A-Whey… Saxelby Cheesmongers wishes you good cheese and good cheer.