Guest post from Cheenius! Thanks, Cheenius!
At last! Cheenius‘ dream has come true: She was able to spend a whole day (with spouse even!) at Caromont Farm, learning about cheese-making, complete with hands-on experience! Here was the itinerary:
7:00 AM Help milk goats
8:00 AM Feed baby goats and visit rams in the pasture with Stuart, Intern
9:30 AM Make cheese with Bridge, Cheese Maker
4:00 PM Cheese tasting with Gail, Owner
The goats seemed to have a great life — lots of sun and pasture, and shelter from the rain (which they really don’t like). They get their high-protein grain when they come to milk, so jostle each other to move up in line. Of course, the baby goats were the highlight of the morning!
The milking process seems pain-free, and the goats aren’t given any weird chemicals or forced lighting to increase production.
Once we were properly suited up for the cheese-making area we made chevre and feta, and helped with some other cheese-based tasks. The workspace is small but efficient, with cheeses waiting to be salted and turned, cheeses still in liquid form needing stirring, and cheeses ready to be “caved” (put in a refrigerator specially engineered for the proper cold and humidity). Bridge patiently taught us all about proteins, fats, flocculation, whey, and resting times. Turns out successful cheese-making means knowing a lot of biology and chemistry, as well as understanding the craftsmanship side of the product. It’s also a lot of cleaning! They’re very careful about who and what goes into the cheese-making area, and recognize the importance of cleanliness in every aspect of production.
Afterwards, Gail taught us how to properly taste cheese and some of the finer points of the craft, and then sent us home with some of Caromont’s first rate cheeses. We left full, happy, and newly appreciative of the art of cheese-making. Cheenius may try to make some feta or chevre at home, but is humble enough to admit that some things are best left to the experts . . .