It’s kind of ironic that I write about farms each Friday because farms and I just don’t mix well. But what you must understand is that I love everything that comes from the farm and what the food does for everyone involved. Local, farm grown products are not only healthier but better for the environment, the animals, the farmers… the whole process just makes the world a better place.
So when Robin asked if I would be interested in visiting Cherry Grove Farm, I won’t lie, I hesitated a bit at the thought of what exactly we would be doing on the farm. Would I be picking fruit? Would we be seeing animals? Most importantly, would I be getting dirty?
But alas, there were no worries. “Cheese,” Robin said. I’m sure there were other words that went along with cheese but that was clearly all I heard. "Cheese!? Heck yes!” I replied.
So off we (Robin, Lisa, Wendy and I) went on one of the hottest days of Farm Fresh season in search of cheese.
Despite getting a tad bit lost we arrived at Cherry Grove Farm in the earlier part of the day. When we got there we ventured into the little shop where there was not only cheese but local products galore. It was really great seeing so many products all in one little shop.
After educating ourselves about great NJ products we decided to venture out to the farm.
It was actually a little surprising to see such a wide variety of animals on the farm. Maybe it was because I was expecting cheese and cheese = cows and not pigs, goats and baby cows…but I was pleasantly surprised to see these animals!
Am I the only one that can’t help but smile when I see this many animals hanging out together? I just imagine the conversations they were having with each other. They were VERY chatty!
After we took a peak at the animals we were introduced to Stacy, who is in charge of marketing for Cherry Grove. She was kind enough to give us some background on the farm and show us around.
We were lucky enough to see this little guy! A baby calf who was born just 4 days before. He was really wobbly and when I went to pet him he backed away terrified. Stacy said once they are socialized with humans they learn to love them like the rest of the cows.
We also had a peek at some of the Mommy cows. One of the cows was the mom of the baby calf so she was still resting and the other cow had broken her hip. Cherry Grove is not only sustainable and organic, but they use no growth hormones, antibiotics or steroids. That means that in order for the cow to heal she simply rests and gets better naturally. Stacy also told us that they feed the cows kale because it is a natural super food and helps them heal quicker.
Cherry Grove also has chickens that are kept in chicken coops most of the time because there are predators on the farm. We were told that during the day hawks want the chickens and at night fox are out to get them! So there is a short time period where they can roam free.
After our tour we headed back inside where we had the chance to try some cheese!
Cherry Grove Havilah is a hard-aged alpine style cheese, with a beautiful black rind made from a layer of ash. This cheese is slightly pungent with a sweet finish and some pineapple notes. A great accompaniment to pears and apples.
Full Nettle Jack cheese actually contains stinging nettles which are not only tasty but have great healing powers as well!
Stay tuned for a recipe that uses their fresh goat cheese!
And while we were eating and purchasing cheese we were also watching it be made! It doesn’t get any more interesting and fresh than that.
We had a great day learning about fresh cheese and where it comes from – a place where animals are treated with love and food is made by people who are passionate about what they do.
Now that is one reason I am proud to say, I am from New Jersey.