And the winner is......
Cheese and Farm News
I can't deny the excitement that comes when you win a prize. So, imagine our amazement and joy a couple of weeks ago, when the winners of the American Cheese Society Annual Cheese Competition were announced in Raleigh, North Carolina, and we heard via texts and tweets that our "black sheep" had won first place in the category of soft-ripened cheese made from sheep or mixed milks. There are many categories for entry, as there are many styles of cheese and several types of milk from which the cheeses can be made. We don't know how many entries were in this specific category, but we do know that soft-ripened cheeses are competitive. It was late on a Friday afternoon, and Alison and Nat, our cheese makers, happened to still be at the farm tending their garden when I got the message. I ran outside trying to find them, and discovered them also trying to get word of the judging results. We were stunned, AND happy!
So, we want to share with you our pride and joy this weekend: black sheep. For those of you not familiar with the cheese, it is a soft-ripened (aka bloomy rind) sheep milk cheese aged with an ash-salt mixture on the rind. The delicate white mold grows over the ash coating, resulting in pale grey hue to the rind. The taste is somewhat earthy and grassy. Enjoy it with some sparkling wine (we toasted it with some bubbly) and a nice crusty bread this weekend.
We're attending three farmers' markets this Saturday: Urbana, Green City Market and Springfield. In addition to the black sheep, we'll have:
- Lots of fresh chevre--plain, herbs de Provence and cracked pepper (sorry, no tomato this week--I need to dry some more Juliettes)
- Sheep milk feta
- Little Bloom on the Prairie
- Black Goat (the goat milk version of black sheep)
- Ewe Bloom (close cousin to black sheep, sans ash)
- Krotovina (half sheep, half goat with an ash layer--beautiful to look at and eat)
- Pecorino Romano
- Huckleberry Blue
The weather will be perfect for gelato in Urbana, but don't forget to bring a cooler or ice pack to keep those pints cold on your way home:
- Hazelnut Crocante (a brittle made with hazelnuts blended into the Hazelnut gelato--double the deliciousness)
- Margot's Mint
- Stracciatella (fancy chocolate chip)
- Blackberry Cream
- Lemon Verbena-Thyme
- Peaches & Cream
- Rhubarb sorbetto (returns after a summer hiatus)
- Cucumber lime mint sorbetto
- Autumn Berry sorbetto (a new flavor made with wild harvested autumn berries from tiny greens farm in urbana-check it out!)
We had our last summer open house this past Wednesday, and it was a roaring success. Thank you to all our patrons who came out to the farm this summer. It was a lot of fun for us, and we hope you enjoyed hanging out at the farm on Wednesday afternoons, even through the extreme heat days. We'll keep you posted about other events on the farm as they arise.