Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Heart Goats! (Sara's Trip to Caromont Farm)

I have tales from another field trip to share with you this week! I went down to Esmont, Virginia early Tuesday morning to spend the day making cheese with the lovely folks and goats at Caromont Farm. I can't even begin to tell you what a great time I had. These trips I've been taking lately involving cheese, photography and travel are starting to change the course of my life, I do believe! I'm just so lucky that I can combine three of my all-time favorite things into one fell swoop, eh?

Anyhow, I somehow miraculously made it to the farm in time for the morning milking, despite a chronic inability to get out of the bed before ten and a tendency to get blissfully lost on country roads. And what a great day it was! There are so many things to say!

I will limit myself to ten: A gorgeous sunrise drive west past Charlottesville, misty and winding unpaved roads, the sun bursting through and shining down in perfect, painting-worthy beams, getting lost (and thankfully un-lost) on the way there, walking with the goats in the woods and realizing that they are such incredibly endearing creatures with such fantastic personalities, trying in vain to remember all their names, getting to wear a sexy pair of coveralls and a hair net to make cheese, actually getting to scoop curd and tend to aging cheeses for the first time, thoroughly enjoying the good company and conversation while doing so, sitting down mid-day for a wonderful, leisurely, homemade lunch, tasting all sorts of delicious cheeses, and, wait, is that ten things? Hrm. It appears I have listed a baker's ten. Ah, well...

The most important thing is that in addition to all these great experiences, I have a bunch of Caromont cheeses that I brought back for all of us. Ample supplies of herbes de Provence dusted Old Green Mountain rounds (carefully wrapped by yours truly), cups of fresh lemony-delicious farmstead chevre, and a new one to try, the Alberene Ash. This is the cheese we had over the delicious slow-cooked-with-country-ham beans that Gail made for lunch -- yum -- and I hear it is THE cheese to have with beets.

In addition, the cheese case has become a showcase for over a dozen other American made cheeses. I'm feeling downright patriotic, people! More Tumbleweed is on the way, I have a half-wheel of Mountaineer from Meadow Creek Dairy, some velvety-rich Nancy's Hudson Valley Camembert from the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, oodles of Gootessa Mountain Valley Sharp, and so many more! Come on by and check it out. And, if that's not reason enough to come to the tasting on Friday, it also happens to be our 10th anniversary. You should definitely come help us celebrate. I'm sure there will be bubbles...