August in Cheese Country

It’s August. Gulp. How in the heck did that happen? To us New Yorkers
August means the near desertion of the city as everyone leaps into their waning days of vacation, leaving the city oddly quiet and almost, kind of, strangely peaceful.

August may symbolize long and lazy days for us, but for all the cheese makers out there August is one of the zaniest months of the year. The grazing is good, the animals are in full production, and nobody gets a minute to rest as the farms begin to prepare for the winter. It is just about as old fashioned as it gets… those who can are making hay to store away for the winter, and filling their caves with cheeses to age and sustain them through the long cold months.

In tandem with all their cold weather preparation (as if they didn’t have enough to do already…) the farms that we work with are making cheese like gangbusters, churning out lots of young and yummy cheese to be eaten right this very minute. The cheese-scape at this time of year is similar to what you see strolling through the farmers’ market each week… utter abundance. Sheep, cow, goat, you name it! They’re all here and ripe for the munching. August’s the time to dig in and celebrate the sumptuous array of cheese proffered up by our local farms.

Here’s a smattering of newbies we’re exceptionally keen on at the moment. So if you’re in the neighborhood, stop in and try a bite!

Sheep Sorrel
(pasteurized sheeps’ milk. Ploughgate Creamery, VT)

This cheese could get by on its story alone… lucky it doesn’t have to ’cause it’s so dang tasty! Ploughgate Creamery was a nearly defunct sheep dairy in northern Vermont that was run for a number of years by a couple who made aged cheeses. However, as they neared retirement, the cheese making came to an end and the fate of the dairy hung in the balance. Enter two intrepid young girls: Princess and Marissa, who after cutting their teeth respectively at Jasper Hill Farm and Bonnieview Farm, negotiated with the owners and decided to use the dairy to make a new and delicious sheeps’ milk cheese. Now the dairy is up and running again, and in their very first season the girls are expertly navigating the sea of curds, leaving a wake of delectable, soft and gooey cheese! Sheep Sorrel is a small disc of cheese whose white bloomy rind conceals a supple and thick interior that tastes of sheep, barn, and sweet summer pasture.

Manchester
(raw goats’ milk. Consider Bardwell Farm, VT)

Oh Mr. Manchester… why are you so fine?! Sorry, it’s early and I’m still a little punch drunk from my coffee. I love this cheese so much I could imagine myself crooning to it, lounge singer style over the din of a smoky cocktail-infested room. I won’t do it, don’t worry, but the picture is vivid in my mind. Manchester has just reached its seasonal tipping point and is ripe and ready to devour! We’ve been waiting for it all summer long, and now its here. Bold, goaty, and musky with a lovely salty streak running through it. The rind is washed with a salty brine, lending a slighly nutty, peanut shell-y flavor to the cheese.

Sweet Emotions
(pasteurized goats’ milk and Jersey cream. Lazy Lady Farm, VT)

If a piece of this cheese ever crossed Steven Tyler’s ample lips, he’d be proud. Sweet Emotions is just what you’d expect from a decadent triple creme… buttery, silky, and true to its name, sweet as fresh cream. A new cheese from the mad scientist’s lab that is Lazy Lady Farm, Sweet Emotions is a fantastic specimen of fromage that celebrates the best dairy to be found in Westfield, Vermont. The goats’ milk comes from the Lazy Ladies themselves, and the cream comes from Butterworks Farm, an organic local dairy that makes killer yogurt. You don’t need an excuse to indulge in this rock anthem of butterfat. Just do it.

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