Friday, October 30, 2009

Open Creamery Day!

As luck should have it, our second day in Maine was an open creamery day! Cheesemakers all over the state opened their doors to curd nerds like myself for an inside look at their farm...or operation as would be the case at our first stop, Edible Rind. This brand new cheesemaking crew was working out of a space in a strip mall. I could barely believe my eyes when we pulled into the parking lot for the visit, but when I think about it, I would be happy as a clam to see a creamery in every strip Curves, only WAY better. The folks at Edible Rind are getting organic milk from nearby Brook Ridge Farm & will focus soft ripened cheeses with both washed & bloomy rinds. We were able to taste their Camembert-style cheese yet to be names, & it was pretty delicious. Goes to show those of us that may be haters...good things come in a variety of packages, even strip malls.

Next up was Liberty Fields Farm, a goat farm & cheesery all by accident. Once upon a time, Anne (from Wisconsin!) & Joel Tripp bought their daughter 2 Nubian goats to show in 4-H competitions and soon enough the goats became a passion for the whole family (which is not hard to believe...I am about to nab a few Nubians for myself, but I am pretty sure my landlord would not be a fan of the idea). Soon enough, the herd grew & produced enough milk to support a small cheesemaking business. Anne now makes cheese every day...and very delicious cheese at that. Saco Bay Dusk & Mist (one with & one without ash coating) are both soft-ripened bloomy-rind cheeses aged 2-4 weeks, and are both some of the best young goat's milk cheeses I have tasted. It must be the Wisconsin touch.

The last stop of the day was way off the beaten path at Little Falls Farm. Nestled in the banks of the Crooked River in Harrison, Maine Mary & John are farmers & cheesemakers to the core. Everything down to milking the goats & making rennet is done by hand and the entire operation is 100% certified organic. The goats, who enjoy good living & rotational grazing on their beautiful property, produce enough milk to make 1-2 of the wheel at right each day. The cheese is then aged up to a year & is sold nearly exclusively at the annual Common Ground County Fair. A festival by the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (MOFGA) celebrating strictly organic farmers in the state of Maine. Mary seems to really enjoy the event & just straight enjoy life. It was a pleasure to chat with her & visit her lovely farm.

Next, the GATC takes a trip to some delightful exploring of the Acadia National Park. We will bring the cheese.

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