Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beauty & The Cheese

One of the many wonderful things about cruising around visiting farms & cheesemakers, is the surrounding nature. I have been delighted by some amazing sites along this journey, and our time in Acadia National Park was overflowing with buena vistas. Hopefully these pics help tell the story of this beautiful chunk of our country. How could we not stop for a few nights to hike off some of that cheese?
The restaurants near the park, however, were not quite as delicious as the park was beautiful. So, on the way out we were determined to find a tasty meal. For this, we head Table, A Farmhouse Bistro, in the town of Blue Hill, ME. Dedicated to local ingredients, chef Rich Hanson (twice nominated for James Beard awards...impressive) selects ingredients from local producers as well as Artisana, a farm operated specifically to provide delicious produce for the restaurant. While sitting at the bar enjoying a delicious meal of grilled flatbread served with olive tapenade & roasted garlic, creamy kale soup, haddock fish & chips (what can I say...we were addicted!), and some warm spiced wine, the kitchen received a delivery...a cheese delivery, that is. Bob Bowen of Sunset Acres was delivering cheese made by his wife, Anne, and just so happened to be the most chatty & friendly fellow around. After bonding over curd at the bar, he invited us to his farm...an invitation we happily accepted. He even drew us a map.
Nearly half an hour later, we arrive at Sunset Acres to be greeted by Bob & his herd of 100 goats (Saanen, Nubian, & Alpine). We toured the farm, hung out with the goats as Bob pointed out the best producers of the bunch, & witnessed a milking in the small parlor that Bob & Anne designed over dinner sketching on a napkin. The clever parlor (in the pic at right...and yes, Oliver did help to milk one of the goats) seems to be working out for the duo providing quality milk for cheesemaking. Anne's soft-ripened beauties are in high demand & all delivered by Bob, who claims never to leave Hwy 1 nor make a left turn (love it). Only the best run haunts along his route, like Table, are lucky enough to receive this delicious cheese.
Both the Table & our visit to Sunset Acres made for a wonderful Maine finale before we head west to Vermont.

Special thanks to Bob & Anne for taking the time out of their busy days to shoot the curd! What a blast. We will be in touch (just in case you are reading this...I plan to hold you to your promise)!

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