The spring was started, all eighty sheep have lambed last month. At the moment we have 161 lambs. When they are born, we separate out the mother with her lambs in a pen for a week, to connect.
Then the family can go by other families of sheep. Before they go outside with the other families, we must trim their feet. We do it by ourselves, it is good for our relation with the sheep! We trim the sheep’s hooves every year after lambing.
The cows are beïng trimmed 60 days and 300 days after the confinement for precaution by problems with their claws.
We didn´t do all the cows by our own, the Business assistant comes to trim and check their hooves.
These people can do this faster and they have more experience. My father has also experience, but there is a lot to do on the farm, so sometimes he trims a cow when she´s lame.
Now the sheep have beautiful nails, also we have two goats with their kids.
In the past few months, gjetost has been popping up on my radar. First in Bon Appétit. Andrew Knowlton, the author of The Foodist column, opened up his pantry to readers and Ski Queen made the list. Then I saw it in the spring issue of culture — a sweet little piece entitled “Grandmother’s Choice.” And then gjetost crossed my path in a few food blogs.
I had to save the best post (for me) for last, the one that lets me talk about goats. I don't know what it is about cuddly animals, but I can't resist them!
After a whirl around Achadinha Cheese Company’s creamery, Donna led us around to the “teenager” area of the farm. Here, adolescent goats can frolic in their own space before joining the rest of the herd in their enormous barn and pastures. From this vantage point, we had a superb view of Donna’s nearly 300 acres, vast emerald green fields with rolling hills. Larry Peter of Petaluma Creamery is a neighbor, and across the way, we saw McEvoy Ranch (think olive oil). All we heard were goats, birds of prey, and the wind. It was awesome. The farm cat, adopted from Peter, immediately came to inspect us newcomers as we held out our hands for the goats to sniff/nibble.
Last Friday afternoon my wife and I drove into Cambridge, Massachusetts to pick up dinner. On the menu: cheese, a crusty bread, and any other specialty foods that caught our eye. We luckily found parking right outside of our destination—Formaggio Kitchen.
Although we aimed to get there a little earlier, my scattered brain and rush hour traffic put us at shopping an hour before closing time. It was fairly busy, and with everyone milling about in their coats it was a little cramped at times. Nevertheless, the staff remained enthusiastic, knowledgeable and genuinely excited to see customers. They offered us samples of cheese, salami and wine, ready to answer any question.
I just saw this clip of a "new" outrage in the meat industry: inferior cuts bonded together to form decoy filet mignons and other more spendy items. The magic happens with transglutaminase, a naturally-occurring enzyme that goes by the charming moniker of "meat glue":
I am Marie-Laure. I tell people that I am a cheesemaker, but the truth is…
I don’t know crap.
I trained with cheesemakers, affineurs, goat herdsmen and cheesemongers in France, Spain, Italy and Massachusetts for two years, working with them side by side. Since then I’ve scoured the northeast U.S. and Québec searching for the place to begin making that elusive dairy product out of goat’s milk. I’ve met cheesemakers and milk producers, spoken with mongers, learned the regulatory requirements to start a farm business, and looked at the costs of building a cheeseplant. As my very first French farm family warned me, my conclusion is this: start the business before I realize it’s too difficult and decide to quit.
Although I’m a Leo, I really despise being the center of attention. Like, really despise it. I take-an-F-on-a-presentation-so-I-don’t-have-to-speak-in-front-of-the-class despise it. So, it’s easy to understand why I haven’t had a traditional birthday party in over ten years. Don’t get me wrong; I like celebrating my birthday (i.e. I like free stuff), but anyone, even people I love, singing a bizarre, repetitive children’s song makes me want to scamper upstairs and hide under the bed like a dog frightened of thunder.
Here is part 2 of a series of 3 posts about visiting Achadinha Cheese Company in Petaluma, CA.
Just before we left the Achadinha creamery, where owner Donna Pacheco's full-time employee Fernando and another helper were packaging cheese for market, Donna invited my photographer Gavin and myself to taste some. We started with curds made the week before. They were almost bright yellow, wonderfully full-flavored, slightly tangy, and slightly springy. (I don’t think they were squeaky, for those who are asking.) It’s not surprising that a good amount of Achadinha’s sales are in curds. We tasted some fresh curd as well, made that morning, originally destined for Broncha. This mixed-milk curd tasted almost like sweet butter, but with a fluffy marshmallowy consistency (squeak!). I could have easily eaten just curds, but we had to move on to the cheeses.
Tomorrow, May 1st, is your last day to apply for the 2012 Birth of a Cheese event, and we're throwing open the doors to all comers.
To apply to become a taster for Jasper Hill's latest locally-sourced, sustainable Alpine cheese, just go to our application and tell us in 200 words or less why you're the one we want.
Jasper Hill wants this project to help build a sustainable local food economy for Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, and we're proud to involve everyone in our community by opening the application process to everyone. So don't wait, apply now!
Culture's editorial team is in Brooklyn at our designers' office reading over every page of the summer issue to make sure everything is in order before we go to print. Big thanks to Red Herring for hosting us once again, and another big thanks to Monica Byrne, the awesome local chef who made us lunch today (hint: she might make an appearance in the new issue in some form or other...)
Here are some photos of what our day looks like. We're psyched for the new issue and hope you are too!