Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Yesterday, she appeared in the flesh, Mary Poppins-style, with a little insulated suitcase containing...oh, about 10 local cheeses she'd picked up in Berks County near her home. This gouda, made from the raw milk of Ayrshire cows, came from a farm she passed on her way into the city, Wholesome Dairy Farms in Yellow House, Pa. (Doesn't that sound like a pretty place?) Amy Poppins saw the farm's roadside sign for "Raw Milk," and she descended upon its farm store to do a little sleuthing.
Dragon's Breath from Keswick Creamery, a brick of mild cheddar from Amish cheesemaker Benuel Stoltzfus, and an assortment of yogurt cheese and port-infused cheese from a farm in Winfield, Pa.
The gouda from Wholesome Farms intrigued me. It didn't have a label, and it looked rustic. We rummaged for knives and napkins, then dug in. Young gouda is mild, smooth-textured, and salty. This one had a firm, crumbly texture (like an aged Provolone) with a fresh milky taste that turned tangy and yogurty at the finish. A slice of apple gave it balance. With some dark bread and a nutty ale, this would make a fine table cheese.
Someday, I'd like to visit Wholesome Dairy, where farmer and veterinarian Mark Lopez practices some interesting sustainable techniques, including a methane-reducing dairy feeding strategy. Curious. If you don't have a Mary Poppins-esque colleague to brighten your desk with cheeses, you could always check out this video of Lopez demonstrating his milking technique on his very companionable cow, Princess.