Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nurturing Traditions, Part 2: Cheese-making Class

The whole point of the trip to Sweetwood Farm last weekend was to attend Heather's cheese-making class. She took up cheese-making while in England and took classes in France and Italy as well.
Heather is so passionate about making cheese (soft -- feta, ricotta, cottage, cream -- for classes because they are faster but she also makes hard cheeses), you can't help but get caught up in her enthusiasm and be impressed by her knowledge. She is offering these classes as she and Neil go through the lengthy, bureaucratic process of establishing their micro-dairy -- with the intention of creating and selling their own line of Sweetwood Farm cheeses. 
It never occurred to me that one could be passionate about cheese but that is total ignorance on my part, derived from a lifetime of eating store-bought cheese. Shame on me! So glad I have seen the light and tasted the delight of homemade ricotta cheese, still warm, sprinkled with sugar.
Heather offers her classes from November to April, the usual time when farmers have less demands on their time. She's actually squeezing in one last class on May 4 before the dairy goats begin to kid.
More info at  

Nothing says "nurturing traditions" and "inspiring others to make their own cheese" like an old, old farmhouse! A perfect setting for a traditional skill unappreciated in our modern grocery-store world.

Heather discusses the merits of using a roaster for making cheese.
Heather makes a "farmhouse" cheese as a demonstration.

Separating the curd and whey. Whey can be used to make ricotta -- or to feed the pigs!
Scooping feta curds into molds. This is the stage where we can sneak a taste!

The class gathers around the best homework ever! Feta & chevre. Heather holds up the farmhouse cheese she skilleted with oil and herbs. 
Fantasy at feeding time. One of the dairy herd, she's a Swiss Toggenburg.

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