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FEATURE ARTICLE - FROM FIELDS, FOREST AND SPARKLING SEAS

From Fields, Forests and Sparkling Seas

Artisanal Food Producers and
Fruits of Their Labor:

CHEESE — A Cultured Affair

By Marty Olmstead

The very first cheese David and Cindy Major produced was not, they admit, very successful. David, who had grown up on his family’s sheep farm, met Cindy, whose family was in the dairy business in New York City, in 1983. Five years later they began making cheese, but they couldn’t sell much. It didn’t take them long to realize that they needed professional help.

So off they headed off to France, where they spent six months in the mountains of the Pyrenees, working at different farms every morning. “We learned that we should be trying to capture the particular flavors of our farm and our valley,” says David about their aged, raw-milk sheep cheese.

Back in Vermont, they instigated a number of changes. “We started using fresh milk (instead of frozen); we stopped using a pump; we stopped mixing hot and cold milk (from morning and evening milkings). It was a series of little tricks,” David says, that made a big difference.

The first cheese they made using their newfound knowledge took top honors in the 1993 American Cheese Society competition, the first of many awards. The cheeses are ripened for two to six months in a cool, humid underground cave, where they are turned, brushed or washed daily to develop natural rinds that enhance their earthy sweetness and flavors of clover, mint and thyme.

Vermont Shepherd’s cheese is seasonal, available only from August through April. It is sold daily at their farm stand as well as at shops all over the country.

Vermont Shepard Cheese
875 Patch Rd.
Putney, VT 05346
(802) 387.4473

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:
Sally Jackson
Praised by connoisseurs from Martha Stewart on down, the farm produces goat, cow and sheep cheeses, either wrapped in mold-ripened leaf or larger, pressed semi-soft wheels.

16 Nealy Road
Oroville WA 98844
(509) 485.3721

Sweet Grass Dairy
The Wehner family raises cows and goats at their New Zealand-style rotational-grazing dairy in south Georgia. Half-a-dozen cheeses are available at cheese shops in California, Michigan and along the Eastern seaboard.

19635 US Hwy. 19N
Thomasville, GA 31792
(229) 227.0752

Read More:

 


MAR/APR 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS

FEATURE ARTICLES
Artisanal Food Producers
  • MEAT- Prized Poultry
  • CHEESE - A Cultured Affair
  • PRODUCE - Northern Delights
  • SEAFOOD - Deep Waters
  • SPICES - Exotic Spices
Stellar Sips - American Wine Bars
  • Wine Storage
  • Tips - Home Wine Bar
FOOD & WINE
ON THE RADAR
SOCIAL TOAST
BITS & BITES


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