I took a “Master Class” at the cheese school during Fancy Food week. It was taught by the awesome Zoe Brickley of Jasper Hill Farm, the same woman who put together this video:
Anyways the class was “Milk, from Grass to Vat” and it was a great trip through the chemical reactions that make cheese magic happen. While the class acknowledged that milk is just one (important) part of the cheesemaking process, the attention to detail on milk composition and the effects of things like feed, mold, yeast, holding time etc, was impressive.
And the cheese was good.
(From top: Harbison (Jasper Hill milk), Harbison (Andersonville Farm milk), Winnimere (oops, not shown), Landaff, Txiki, Tomme de la Chataignerie, Quadrello di Bufala (aka “Buffalo Taleggio”) Cabot Clothbound (Kempton Farm), Cabot Clothbound (pooled milk from Cabot Co-op)
It’s not good news for dairy farmers these days, whether they are organic or non-organic. In discussing cheese, the dairy farmers (if they are not also cheesemakers) often get left out of the discussion. Here are some links that will depress you:
3rd generation farmer on 150-year-old dairy farm forced to sell cows for slaughter
Organic family farms dump milk to protest consolidation by Big-Ag Organic dairies
Plunging prices wallop dairy farmers
Looks like Foster Farms will end up buying the Humboldt Creamery which had been 75% owned by farmers before the CEO embezzled the money away. Mind you, it’s good news that someone is buying it.
(We buy Rumiano cheese for our Jack, mild Cheddar, Pepper Jack and many other miscellaneous basic cheeses. We were lucky to have them be an early adopter of rBGH-free cheese and thus able to carry rBGH-free “people’s cheese” at a relatively low price. You can see in that last article that the Humboldt Creamery owes them over $1 million.)