Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Washington County Cheesemakers

Proud Sponsors of the 2010 Annual Free Washington County Cheese Tour
September 11-12

Who are the Washington County Cheesemakers?

This comes from the home page of their website- "We are a group of artisinal cheesemakers located in scenic Washington County, about one hour northeast of Albany, NY. The county rises from the plains of the Hudson to the foothills of the Green Mountains on the eastern border. It has long been, and still is, a major producer of cow's milk. 

We are attempting to bring back distinctive cheesemaking from cow's milk, but also from sheep and goat's milk. We think we're doing a great job and urge you to seek out our cheeses in finer cheese shops in your area or to come visit us at the farm, especially during our cheese tour in the fall."
When is the Cheese Tour?

This year will be the 4th annual tour and it takes place the weekend of September 11-12 from 10am-4pm both days.

What happens there?

Five farms in the area open their doors to the public and serve samples of their cheeses.  These are the farms (as described in a packet we were sent):

Argyle Cheese Farmer in Argyle, NY
Marge Randles of Randles Fairview Farm makes cheese from the cows that her husband, David and his brother Will raise. It's a tradition that goes back for five generations.  Marge was working as an accountant and a certified financial planner when they were looking to increase the value of their cows' milk production through challenging times in the dairy industry. Although the herd is small (50 cows), it provides an abundance of rich milk and allows them to make a variety of farmstead cheese like Caerphilly, a semi-firm, aged cheese with Welsh roots (the cheese makers' favorite).
3-Corner Field Farm in Shushan, NY
Karen Weinberg and Paul Borghard own and operate what was the first sheep dairy in Washington County (and one of only four in New York State).  They are the third family to carry on the tradition of farming at this location since the first farm family started milking cows in the mid-19th century and they use the same old-fashioned farming techniques. They've completed their first decade of milking sheep and raising lambs and their sixth year of creating sheep's milk cheeses and yogurt.  Several of their cheeses have received awards from the American Cheese Society.

Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, VT 

Angela Miller and Rust Glover enlisted partners, famed cheese-maker Peter Dixon and master marketer Chris Gray, to help them reinvent and revitalize the first cheesemaking co-op in Vermont, founded by Consider Bardwell in 1864, on the sight of this 300-acre farm that straddles the border of Vermont and Hebron, NY.  Now in their 7th season, the team has created nine award-winning, hand-made cheeses with their own goat's milk and cow's milk from Jersey Girls Farm in Chester, VT.  The cheeses, sold locally and nationally, grace many 4-star restaurant cheese plates.  The barn features a farm store and a cafĂ©.

Longview Farm in Argyle, NY
Liza and David Porter were looking for a place to expand Liza's cheesemaking operation while they were living at their suburban Wilton home.  They moved to their Argyle farm in 2005 and added a herd of French Alpine goats.  They seasonally produce farmstead goat cheeses, as well as Liza's artisanal cow's milk cheese that she creates from the milk of her neighbors herd off  Jerseys and Brown Swiss.  The menu of cheeses consists of 5 fresh and 4 aged cows' milk cheeses as well as 3 fresh and two aged goats' milk cheeses.

Sweet Spring Farm in Argyle, NY
Jeff Bowers and Milton Ilario purchased their  105-acre farm in 2002, and it only took a year before two Nubian does came to live on the farm.  The farm is part of a homestead dating back to the 18th century, and has a carriage house that has been transformed into the cheese parlor.  Jeff gradually grew the herd and started making cheeses from the milk of his pure-bred "Cossayuna" Nubian goats five years ago.  Jeff's plan is to keep the cheesemaking seasonal.  His fresh chevres, White Lily(Camembert-style), Carriage House, fresh feta and Sacre Bleu are all perfect use of the Nubian milk, known for its high butterfat content.

Where can I get more information?

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