Tag Archives: harley farms

Cheese of the week: Rupert and Harley Farms Honey Lavender

Consider Bardwell Rupert
I’m going to pick another Consider Bardwell cheese as one of my cheeses of the week. Rupert is awesome. Made from raw Jersey milk, it’s an Alpine-style cheese that combines the pungency and bite of a well-aged Gruyere with a richness and sweetness not often found in this style cheese. We won’t have this cheese often – since it’s not really distributed out here — so I really enjoyed sampling it out.

My apologies for not getting a picture of the beautiful wheel. We just went through it too quick.

One thing I did find surprising about this cheese – and my only negative in what is otherwise and American masterpiece (Indeed, the Rupert tied for 3rd Place at the 2009 ACS competition where I was a judge) – is that is dried out very quickly. It’s a hard, pressed cheese and usually we can leave a piece of this class of cheese out all day and it just gets better. The Rupert, after a couple of hours of exposure to air became a little grainy and waxy. I would say this is a great cheese plate cheese (as well as an awesome melter) but I actually wouldn’t leave it out unwrapped for too long before serving.

Harley Farms Fresh Chevre with Honey and Lavender
The other cheese that is always super fun to offer out is the Harley Farms fresh chevre with honey and lavender. Just like what it sounds like, the great thing about this cheese is the light hand the cheesemaker had. Lavender is kind of an “it” ingredient theses days but in a lot of food it just tastes like you’re eating at your hippie friend’s house who didn’t rinse off his plates after washing them with Dr. Bronner’s. The chevre has a great milky tang, the honey a rich sweetness, and the lavender just enough floral aroma and flavor to compliment everything else.

$3.99 is definitely not the price for these. Do not get confused by the picture.
Harley Farms chevre

After more than a decade of eating Harley Farms cheese (and Sea Stars before that) I didn’t think I could have a new favorite from Dee’s farm, but I do.

Harley Farms farm dinner!

I’m going to see Dee Harley a lot this month. That’s awesome because she is truly one of my favorite cheese people. I can never get enough of her. That’s why I brought my parents to her farm as a present.

It was a Christmas present, actually. But the Harley Farms farm dinners are so popular that even though we arranged it in December the first available spot was May 7. Now that I’ve attended one, I see why!

Starting at 4 PM with a full tour of the farm, you really get a sense of how much love goes into the care of the goats and land, and how much effort goes into the cheesemaking. Here are my parents walking through a field of goats. They hadn’t yet discovered how much these beauties can pee and poop!

Here’s my dad trying to extricate himself from one curious lady:

We got to meet some milkers, the llamas, and some babies. Here’s Laurie pushing the head of a baby male goat. She said that they love that and she should know since she raised goats herself awhile back. I didn’t catch the names of these goats, but since they are males, let’s call them Birria and Meatloaf.

Then we got to go to the cheese room. Now, there are a million pictures of me in a hairnet. There’s even one on the top of my website. But I’d never gotten a picture of my parents in hairnets before. Thanks Laurie!

I suppose if I was really a food blogger instead of a cheese worker I would be giving you the details of the Harley Farm acreage, the number of goats, the volume of output and throwing lots of silly adjectives around. But I’m pretty sure I’ve done some version of that before and I don’t know whether people ever really read that stuff anyway. I know I don’t unless I’m making signs for the store. No, the thing to know about Harley is that it’s a small, sustainable farmstead dairy where the goats are well cared for and they make great fresh goat cheese.

After we tasted cheese, we went upstairs for the dinner. I meant to take pictures of the food, but I was having too good a time (and too much BYOB wine) to remember to pull out my camera. What did we eat? OMG. First, a warm carrot, beet, asparagus salad, with feta. Then goat cheese raviolis. This was followed by the main course of spring lamb with mint sauce. We finished with fresh, warm ricotta with strawberries. Everything was awesome. Even better was sitting around the big, hand-carved wooden table and meeting all the other folks who were in attendance. The Harley folks put on a great event.

If you are going between Santa Cruz and San Francisco on HWY 1 and don’t stop at the Farm Store (and at Duarte’s Tavern for ollalieberry pie) I don’t know what you are thinking.

But May is truly Dee Harley month for me. We will be together at the New Leaf Cheesemakers day (along with Garden Variety and Schoch Farm) on Sunday May 15 (New Leaf Community Market Westside 2-5, free) and then at the California Academy of Sciences NightLife event where I’ll be reading, Dee will be talking and there will be a ton of cheese to eat (Thursday May 26 in San Francisco, $12, $10 for members)

Back from Texas

It’ll be a few days before I can make a real update. I told you I was no liveblogger.

However, tomorrow I get to drive down the coast and give Dee Harley her first and second place ribbons from this year’s competition. Hopefully Duarte’s Tavern won’t be too busy for lunch. Ollalieberry pie and artichoke soup makes a great meal.