Sunday, August 8, 2010

Twig Farm Visit

Some of my favorite cheeses come from Twig Farm in West Cornwall, Vermont. This small farmstead creamery is making some phenomenal stuff.

Why are their cheeses so rad? I've decided to write a list for you.

1. It's seasonably made. Michael encourages his goats to follow their natural breeding cycle. They mate in the fall, take the winter off to gestate, and in the spring "kidding" season starts, and fresh goat milk is available once again.

2. All of their cheeses are raw. I'm a huge fan of raw fluid milk and raw milk cheese. Why does raw milk make a difference? Many people believe that raw milk cheese has a more complex flavor profile. Yes, it's true that pasteurizing cheese kills off all of the bad bacteria like listeria, but it also kills off the good flavor-producing bacteria that add depth of flavor and a sense of terroir to the cheese. The cheeses from Twig Farm-especially square- taste very much like the natural flora that is part of the goats' diet.

3. Cheesemaker Michael used to be Cheesemonger Michael at South End Fromaggio in Boston. I think that it's beneficial for a cheesemaker to know what's going on in the retail world. Knowing what happens in the shop can help a cheesemaker out in terms of what size and shape of cheese is easy to distribute, what price point the markets can bear, how best to merchandise their cheese, and gives them a complete picture from milk to consumer on what happens to their product. It is also beneficial for a cheesemonger to learn more about the scientific and labor intensive processes that go into every delicious wheel that we sell, but that's another post for another day.

4. Michael knows the names of all of his goats and it is clear after meeting him that he loves his employees.

5. The land is beautiful. To get to the pasture we walked through a rocky little foresty area which is perfect for playing with your goaty girlfriends or for climbing with your little goaty hoofs. Then we got to the fields. Thistle, Queen Anne's Lace, clover and yummy grasses are all there ready to satisfy any of your nibbling needs. Twig Farm is a goat paradise.

6. The cheeses all have very simple names which is appealing and comforting in a way that I can't actually describe. While the names of the cheeses (Square, Fuzzy Wheel, Goat Tomme) almost sounds generic (like the "Acme" company that always come popping up in road runner cartoons) the cheeses are phenomenal. My favorite of the Twig Farm cheeses is Washed Rind. This buttery, creamy, slightly funky, definitely goaty cheese is washed in a whey brine solution and aged for just under three months. While you should absolutely buy any of their cheeses if you see them, the Washed Rind is required eating.

Goats hanging out in the pasture. Eating green stuffs and being happy.

My brother confessed to me that he isn't much of a goat lovin' man. The Twig Farm ladies changed his mind though. They just surrounded him and made him pet and fall in love with them. See bro, I told you. Goats are good.

Okay yeah it kind of looks like this goat is either burping, coughing or has a furball.

Goats are herd animals and love playing follow the leader.

These are the Twig Farm bucklings. So cute. All they wanted to do was nibble and nuzzle our hands.

This was the last stop on our three farm tour with Vermont Farm Tours, and it was one of my favorite. I've been a fan of Twig Farm for quite a while and meeting Michael and his lovely ladies was one of the highlights of my trip. If you're going on a cheese trip through Vermont, you MUST make a stop here to play with the goats.



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