Recently in dairy Category

We first found quarts of Crescent Ridge chocolate milk at the Whole Foods on Prospect Street in Cambridge.  Then that store started carrying quarts of 1% (and probably 2% and whole, but we didn't really notice).  Now the Whole Foods on River Street in Cambridge is carrying 1/2 gallons of skim, 1%, 2%, and whole mile.  Crescent Ridge is taking over Boston!

crescent ridge.jpgPeople of Boston, unless you've got a couple of milking cows hanging out around the back of your brownstone, this is the closest you're going to get to local milk.

We were originally excited by the glass bottles, which are recyclable and/or returnable and/or reusable -- but come on, how many flower vases can one household really accommodate?

Good news: Whole Foods is charging $1.50 as a deposit on each bottle, which you get back in the form of a WF coupon when you return it to the store.  Now go get your local milk!

Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont is fast becoming one of our favorite cheese makers.  We had some of their Bayley Hazen Blue (a raw milk cheese) and Constant Bliss (a soft cow cheese that tastes more like goat cheese) back in January.

Just the other week, we bought some their Bartlett Blue over at at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge. Andy (one of the two brothers that owns Jasper Hill) told me: "Bartlett Blue is a cheese we make seasonally. We make it only in the summer months when the cows are out on pasture. We only make it once a week so it is quite limited in availability."

bartlett blue.jpgAdmittedly, I did have a mild panic attack over eating a summer cheese during February.  Fortunately, after about four seconds I realized that Formaggio just stores seasonal cheeses like this in its cheese cellar until the cheese and I are ready to be joined together.

I'm having a bit of trouble remembering exactly what the  Bayley Hazen Blue tasted like and how it differs from the Bartlett Blue -- perhaps I'll have to line up a side by side tasting sometime soon -- but I can say with confidence that we greatly enjoyed both! 

North Stone goat cheese

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Today we stopped by Formaggio Kitchen and picked up some North Stone goat's milk cheese from Twig Farm in West Cornwall, VT.  It was wonderfully creamy with a wicked moldy rind that added a nice earthiness.

north stone goat cheese.jpgTwig Farm cheese maker Michael Lee and marketer Emily Sunderman say about their goats:
"When not in the milking parlor, our goats spend their days and nights out on pasture or browsing on our rocky ledges. We love and respect our goats and treat them as valued employees."

Stinky Hooligan

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If you haven't sussed it out already, I'm a bit of a cheese hound. And Hooligan has been hands down my favorite cheese since I found it at South End Formaggio right after we moved to Boston several years ago.  It's stinky stinky stinky in that wonderful way only cheese can get away with. And though I won't complain (any Hooligan is a good Hooligan), it's usually a bit riper and creamier than the tidbit I sampled recently.

hooligan.jpgHooligan comes from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, CT, where "the mother-son team of Elizabeth and Mark raises 40 free-range Jersey cows without the use of hormones or subtherapeutic antibiotics."

Next year I hope to get my hands on some Drunken Hooligan, which is washed with red wine and only available from November through January.

On our recent trip to Whole Foods on River Road in Cambridge, we stopped by the cheese counter and asked, "What's local?"

We bought two cheeses from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont. The first was a Bayley Hazen Blue raw milk cheese, which was mild, earthy, and on the dry side (it broke into several pieces when I laid on the cutting board) but still soft and creamy. Jasper Hill's Web site describes the texture as "dense chocolaty paste that melts on the tongue." The second was Constant Bliss, a soft cow cheese that the cheese monger suggested after I confessed my love for ripe, creamy goat cheese. I think she actually thought it was a goat cheese, and I have to say the tangy flavor could have fooled me too.

We also got some Ascutney Mountain cheese from Cobb Hill Cheese in Hartland, Vermont. This cheese was similar in flavor to gruyere, but with an airier texture.  Yum!

All three were wonderful and as a trio they complemented each other nicely.  But if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Bayley Hazen Blue.  It was just so different from the blues I typically see at the market.

vermont cheese.jpgMateo, Andy, Victoria, and Angela Kehler (two brothers and their wives) are Jasper Hill's owners. They say that their cows are "quite spoiled." "Our cows go out on a fresh piece of pasture after every milking during the spring summer and fall and are fed a ration of dry hay through the winter, when they stay in avoiding harsh winter wind and snow and listen to a great selection of jazz and classical music." I love it!

Cob Hill Cheese is part of Cobb Hill Cohousing, "an intentional community" on 270 acres dedicated to "socially and ecologically responsible" living and working.

Shy Brothers Farm Cheese

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bison and noodles.jpgI was excited to see that today's edition of Daily Candy ("the insider's guide to what's hot, new, and undiscovered -- from fashion and style to gadgets and travel") featured a family of farmers and cheese artisans from Westport Point, MA: Shy Brothers Farm.

The Shy Brothers' web site says that the "brothers are careful with their animals and of course don't use any antibiotics or hormones on their milkers."

Their bite-size, bell-shaped cheeses -- which come in shallot, rosemary, lavender, and chipotle flavors -- look so good!  I can't wait to get my hands on some.  You can find them in various locations around RI and MA or buy them online.

Crescent Ridge Dairy

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I'm not a huge chocolate milk fan, but Haven picked up some Crescent Ridge chocolate milk recently at the Whole Foods on Prospect in Cambridge -- and he loved it.

A blast from the past, Crescent Ridge does home delivery throughout the Boston metro area.  (When I was growing up in Des Moines in the 1970's, we used to get our milk delivered.  I didn't think any company still did this.)  They also bottle their milk in glass bottles, which are returnable, recyclable, or reusable. We're using ours as a vase.

crescent ridge milk bottle.jpgThe company's Web site says, "all Crescent Ridge milk is from cows not treated with the rBST growth hormone." Its homepage also has pictures of cows munching on grass out in a field -- but I wanted to make sure this wasn't just propaganda, so I emailed Crescent Ridge to ask about the cows' diet and access to pasture.

Marketing Manager Brad took the time to respond: "The cows are treated very well.  All of our whole milk comes from the Howrigan Farm up in Northern Vermont and is a very awarded farm.  The have 500 head of Holstein that are fed corn grown on their property.  The cows are also out in the Pasteur to feed on grass through the day.  None of the cows are treated with growth hormones to increase the milking.  Our Skim milk comes from various different farms in the Vermont area from a Coop called St. Albans.  Crescent Ridge Dairy pays a premium to receive milk that comes from cows that are not treated with growth hormones.  St Albans has many inspections to the farms that are part of the coop to make sure the quality is of the highest."  Thanks, Brad!


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