It's true. Yellow Springs delivers. Well, actually it's not quite that easy, but this is my first installment of a summer CSA program run by one of my fave cheese-making outfits in Chester County, PA.
I don't know of any other cheesemakers using the CSA model, but it does seem pretty savvy and -- on the receiving end -- quite deluxe. Every other week an organic grocery service (Panache Foods) drops off a cooler full of goat cheese, along with any meat and produce I've ordered. It's better than getting take-out.
This is the second year that Yellow Springs has offered CSA shares, a program that puts 20-24 different cheeses into the hands of their customers over a period from May to November. I paid about $250 up front for 13 deliveries; each installment includes 3 varieties of raw and pasteurized goat cheese.
Here's the first installment, unveiled:
My favorite cheese in this batch was Fieldstone (center), an earthy, firm cheese with a delectable rind. The paste was dense like a Gouda, and the flavor called to mind wild grass, prairie weather. On rustic bread, it was delicious with a touch of jam. Bliss, the bloomy cheese on the right, tasted a little soapy -- it wasn't as ripe as the last time I tried it, back in December during a farm visit. The pepper-garlic chevre disappeared from our fridge right away, tucked into lunches, alongside sliced veggies.
I'm ready for the next batch of goat-cheese stocking stuffers. It arrives Thursday. I'm excited to try a new cheese from the Renzi's, called Iron Spring -- it's rubbed with paprika and named after the natural spring that bubbles up on their land. The "rusty" rind is a nod to the high concentration of iron that colors the water.
One thing that sets the Renzi's apart: they run a native plant nursery in addition to milking Nubians. All of the "flavors" they add to their cheeses are grown on their farm, including saffron, black walnuts, fresh herbs, and honey.
Curious to try Yellow Springs cheese? The Renzi's will be part of the Stoudt's Wonderful Good Cheese Festival in Adamstown, PA from 2-5 p.m. on June 11.