I’ve been on a cheddar kick lately, which is why I did a little polka yesterday when I received a block of this pungent raw-milk cheese in my CSA box from Greensgrow Farm. Greensgrow, a mostly organic urban farm up here in Fishtown, is probably my favorite discovery since moving to Philadelphia. Located on the site of a former galvanized steel plant, this wee bit of acreage out here amid the asphalt jungle makes me feel like I’ve got one foot back in the Midwest. With a city block full of raised beds and a nursery that stocks heirloom plants, Greensgrow has become my personal and spiritual pantry. Now that I’ve joined their CSA – Community Supported Agriculture – it’s become the center of my universe. I stop by the farm every Saturday and pick up my weekly ration of local produce and dairy, then I kiss the ground.
I smooch the earth, I really do.
Are you scratching your head? Are you working the toothpick over your teeth and wondering what in heaven I’m talking about? I know, cheese dreamers, you never thought you’d see the words “urban” and “farm” linked together. But believe me, the people at Greensgrow have given me faith that good things can come from concrete. They are even teaching rowhouse-dwellers like me how to compost in Dixie Cups (well, not quite) and how to keep bees in the city. It won’t be long before I am making cheese from itty-bitty city goats on my rooftop.
Until then, I’ll just enjoy local cheeses that come to me through the refrigerator case at Greensgrow – there’s a whole cooler stocked with local meats and dairy treasure. This week’s Friendly Smoked Cheddar is just that: frrriendly. It tastes good with everything. On Saturday, I served it alongside beans on toast for a traditional (but vegetarian) British breakfast – it was a perfect substitute for sausage links.
I couldn't find out much about this smoked cheese, except that it's produced by a farm cooperative in Gap, Pa. It's available locally at Weaver's Way Co-op, Pumpkin Market, and Greensgrow Farm. If you stop by Greensgrow, be sure to raid the cooler for a few other worthwhile dairy specialties, including Pequea Valley Yogurt (vanilla is my favorite) and the goatmilk gelato made by Gelati di Capri (try the Mandarin Cremesicle).
Pssst...Greensgrow offers a winter CSA that's incredible -- the highlight of last winter, for me. There are a limited number of shares, and sign-up just started this week.