Monday, March 15, 2010

"Cheese is milk's leap towards immortality" - Cliff Fadiman

A good cheese quote is worth a thousand subject headings.

Back from an extremely relaxing weekend up north in Bellingham, revived and ready to take on the world! Or at least the ongoing burden that is build out in my space, as it were.

You know the old rule of thumb that so many entrepreneurs swear by: everything will take twice as long and double the cost you expect? Yep, it's true. I knew it would be, but still, weeks go by like nothing these days and progress, while it is still progress, is slower than I'd like. But there is only so much I can do, and in the meantime I placate myself with visits to dairy's and creameries, one of my favorite parts of my job.

On our way up to Bellingham we stopped in to meet Rhonda of Gothberg Farms. While I am a livestock girl at heart, I must say that goats are by far among my favorites, and I am simply plussed at the chance to be near them at all. Rhonda has a modest farm of roughly 20-30 milkers, and we got to visit her in the midst of kidding season. Oh the bleats of baby goats!! I could listen to that for hours...
Rhonda gave us an informal tour of her facility, which I must say was impeccably clean, and we spent a good 20 or 30 minutes visiting with her goats, young and old. For the sake of brevity, please check out my small collection of photos at Gothberg Farms.

Growing up with goats, I have a special place in my heart for them and their cheese, however I must say that when approaching goat milk cheesemakers, I normally consider myself to have had my fill of chevre. However, I stood still in my tracks upon tasting Gothberg Farm's version of this lovely fresh cheese. I admit I'm biased, I grew up on fresh goat milk and cheese from our single doe Mocha, who was fed sweet oats and ripe alfalfa, kept far from billygoats, and given a lot of love and attention every day. It's not often that I encounter a fresh chevre that brings back sensory memories of the sweet, light-as-a-cloud, luscious texture and taste that I knew and loved so well. Suffice it to say, Gothberg Farms has it down pat. I will have a difficult time carrying this cheese in my shop without eating it all myself!

I also had the pleasure of visiting Samish Bay Cheese for the first time in person. Although the owners were out for the weekend, their lovely cheesemonger Claire was more than happy and incredibly helpful in getting some rounds for me to take back home in preparation for the pre-opening bash this weekend. I got an enormous round of Ladysmith, which I have been in love with for over a year, and a very coveted round of their Black Mambazzo, which you simply don't want to miss.

And now it's on to more exciting things like calling the phone company! Errr, yeah.

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