Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The End!

Okay, well if you haven't figured it out by now...I'm done with this blog. I met my goal--I am working on a farm and doing quite well with it. I made the transition from office to barn. (Best move of my life!)

This last post is to say that I have a new blog over on wordpress. It will follow my thoughts on various food and farm related topics. The first posts are all about pig slaughtering and butchering...check it out now!

Monday, August 16, 2010

August Already?!

Well I've been busy here at Olde Oak Farm and I must say, after reading back through some of last year's posts, that this year is so much different! (And Better!) What a difference a year makes!
So what is going on down on the farm?
To begin with, the rest of kidding season went smoothly--45 kids in 2 weeks! We are keeping 9 girls this year and just one buck for breeding (Big Joe.)

We had another apprentice here this summer also. Jenny. She was here from mid May up until last Monday. She's a student at Rutgers in New Jersey (she would appreciate it if you keep the Jersey jokes to yourself.) Jenny was my right-hand woman in the cheeseplant for the last 3 months. She got a lot of experience with our soft cheeses and made her own batches of Camembert and Havarti (a cheese I had never tried). The Havarti came out very very nice! We did a fresh dill and a plain. We just cut the dill and took it to market after giving Jenny a nice big wedge to take home and share with her family.

This year, I am running the cheeseplant. I'm now the "Head cheesemaker" and senior apprentice. Fancy title! Basically this means that I'm very happy here at Olde Oak and I've taken on more responsibility. I spent more time working with and teaching Jenny than Scott or Jen and it was definitely as much a learning experience for me as it was for her. Managing people is not a skill I've ever had to develop before and I think I equally enjoyed and dreaded some days. :)

Today, we hosted the August meeting of the Maine Cheese Guild. We gave a tour to about 10 members and fellow cheesemakers of the cheeseplant and barn and the new house. Then we sat down and talked business for a while and finally, tasted cheeses that we all brought to share. It was a good meeting and I'm glad it's over! Having all these other cheesemakers here was a bit nerve-wracking! But I think everyone was impressed with the new location and barn, not to mention the house. Coming up in a couple weeks, I'll be making a Tomme during the week of Labor day. Everyone involved will follow Peter Dixon's recipe which can be found on his website. Then, a short 4 months later, all of us cheesemakers will converge for our holiday meeting and try each other's cheeses. I haven't made a Tomme before, so it should be an interesting and fun project!

Beyond that, I've decided to stay on for my third season here next year. And I'm hoping to travel abroad this winter for a couple months to learn more and hone my skills in affinage (the art of aging and ripening cheeses.) I'd like to focus on the care and maintenance of washed rinds, cloth-bound cheddars and maybe learn more about bloomy-rind cheeses as well.
Well that's my world here in Maine. Maybe I'll even get around to updating this again with more on my Tomme.
Till next time...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kids are here!

Gem, Prudence and Opal's kids.
We're currently at 8 kids and counting...

Update on the Epoisses: It's been just over a week since I made my first batch of Epoisses (see last post) I've been washing them with a salt water brine, KL-71 (yeast) and b. linens. They are starting to develop an interesting smell. A very thin coating of white mold (Geotrichum) has begun to bloom on them and has raised the pH on the surface from 4.8 up to 5.2. We should see some b. linens development here soon. B.linens or Brevibacterium Linens is the culture that gives the washed rind cheeses their characteristic orange/red surface color and strong smell.
More pictures of kids and cheese coming soon....