5.30am. Last time I work up this early was to dance and chant with the Hari Krishnas I hung out with at university. No less of an ideology but with a little less saffron and waving incense, my incentive this morning is CHEESE.
Boots, hair nets and aprons on, we are greeted by 1,200 litres of warming milk. Dutch cheese farm Boerderij Hoekelum (www.hoekelum.nl) is producing Gouda with truffle and herbs this morning.
I'm surprised to find myself in Holland at all. As part of a small film team (www.whattookyousolong.org) traveling the world in search of camel cheese (yes, camel cheese) I don't bat an eyelid at being in Mongolia, Somalia or Uzbekistan. But the Netherlands?
From the first day we heard about Frank Smits we knew he was something special. A young dutch farmer battling government legislation and animal activists, pioneering the scientific research, inventing the machinery and importing the first camels to see Dutch soil, perhaps ever.
I thought the saying goes- "Don't name what you are going to eat". (Most) farmers who raise pigs, cows, or chickens for food wouldn't name them Daffy, Henrietta, Bessie or any other proper name for the fact that they are a food source and not a pet: a situation in which emotional attachments are difficult (not to offend any vegetarians or pet cow owners). Cheese seems to break this rule. Some will argue that cheese is a living thing (or a slowly dying thing) and therefore one must care for it from inoculation through maturation- correct? With names like Pierre Robert, Dafne, Rupert, or Moses I wonder how far these emotional attachments go with the cheese and its 'maker'.
I'd like to introduce Mary Quicke, of Quickes Traditional Farmhouse Cheeses in the UK. She's been generous enough to share the beautifully-written updates she sends from Devon, where her family has farmed for more than 450 years. —Will
MARY'S DAIRY DIARY - NOVEMBER 2010
November has dark evenings when we can still remember the light ones, leaves are whirling off the trees when we can remember the green of summer, and chilly when the wreckage of summer lies broken all around.
Remember when you were a kid, and how excited you were to find out you got to go to the zoo? Remember how thrilling it was to get to see all of those wild and sometimes scary, sometimes cute animals you had only read about in books? Well, that’s exactly how I felt as I spent the last 6 weeks interning at Jasper Hill Farm and Cellars in Greensboro, VT.
See, I’m a microbiologist, and for me, those wild and unseen animals are the microbes I’ve spent so many years studying.
My own contribution to the growing, ah, corpus of Halloween tales. Submit your own story and win a bag of cheesy treats! Possible biological inaccuracy to follow:
At one time, I thought of them like you probably do. Dumb creatures. Afraid of the sunrise. Flockers, robbed by selective breeding of their essential stubborn goatness. Turned into pale blobs of wool and meat.
Open thread: post your most frightening, eerie cheese-related story, real or invented, and the best story will win a sack of tricks and cheese treats. 500 words or less.