In the world of cheese, spring is a very exciting time. It’s marked by a feeling of renewal and by the arrival on our local farms of green grass and lots and lots of baby animals! This makes it a very special time for young goat and sheep milk cheeses. The pastures are verdant and the kids (baby goats) and lambs that were born in March are running around the farm. With babies comes milk, and as cheese-lovers we benefit from this “freshening” in our own way: with an abundance of green grass and rich milk, we’re in fresh cheese heaven.
We’re thrilled to welcome back with open arms a couple of cheeses that have been seasonally unavailable for the last few months. Lambs and kids are abundant at Pennyroyal Farmstead in Bonnville, and we’re celebrating the return of a couple of their cheeses. Early in the season, watch for Laychee, a beautiful fresh cheese with the silkiest of textures, made from a blend of goat’s milk and sheep’s milk and perfect for an array of applications. It’s delicate, pleasantly lactic and spreadable, great for brunch or as a base for a delicious crostini topped with preserves or sweet fresh fruit. Or you could just enjoy it with a simple drizzle of honey and a spoon! Bollie’s Mollies, another delightful offering from Pennyroyal that’s aged for four weeks, is a denser, more toothsome option. It has a lovely light gray rind, thanks to penicillium album mold.
In other exciting news, Tomales Farmstead Creamery is milking their ewes for the first time! When we went for a visit in January, their herd manager was training the pregnant ewes to line up for milking in the milking parlor. Though we’ve had Tomales Farmstead’s Kenne on the counter for the last few months, it’s now being made with a blend of goat’s milk and the first of their sheep’s milk, which gives the cheese a richer, rounder finish with a hint of lanolin. Their farmstead-mixed milk is also being used to craft Liwa, a fresh, hand-ladled cheese that has a fudgy texture and more substance to it than some of our other fresh offerings. Cheeses from Tomales Farmstead Creamery are delivered directly to us from the farm each week.
I’m also excited to introduce you to our newest producer-direct relationship! Golden Valley Farm was started by Mario and Sandra Daccarett, who worked for twenty years as dairy nutrition and management consultants. As their children grew, they wanted a line of work that was more inclusive of the family, and are now the only sheep dairy in the San Joaquin Valley. From February to December they milk 340 ewes, and their son Mario Daccerett, Jr. transforms this milk into a number of different cheeses in a range of styles. The first cheese that we will feature is the Yosemite Blossom, a beautiful cheese with a snowy white coast that is aged for about four weeks. Expect a milky and creamy texture with a delicate flavor. It’s just begging for some fennel salami!
Come by and ask for a taste of our favorite spring offerings! And stay tuned: come June, we’ll start to see some of the first aged, raw milk cheeses made this spring!