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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cows Outside

Love artisanal raw milk cheeses and want your dairy products to come from happy cows? Interested in breadmaking? Eat meat but only if it's pasture-fed and raised sustainably? Want to learn more about how to actually make cheese? One of the most amazing cheesemakers on the east coast of the United States is Bobolink Farms in New Jersey. Add in their sustainable meat production and breadmaking and you've got a great green source of good food. Stop by for tastings at the Farm Wednesday through Sunday, nearly any time of the year. Bobolink, named after the sweet birds that live in the farm's fields, is more than it appears to be. The farm itself is the home of the Grassland Cheese Consortium, a developing center for promoting "grass-based, sustainable, profitable, family-sized dairy farming as an alternative to the industrial, confinement-based farms that typified the dairy industry in the late 20th Century." Nina and Jonathan, who run the farm, also work with local culinary arts professionals and agricultural agencies in the area, promoting collaborations with chefs and other farmers to produce high-quality cheeses from well-treated cows on ever-fertile land, in both the developed and developing worlds. They offer internships in cheesemaking, grass-based dairy farming and breadmaking, and agritourism. These can be one, two or three-day events, with off-farm housing available (there are several bed-and-breakfasts and motels in the area, at a range of prices). They are also able to do academic or non-academic internships with room and board on the farm. For the serious would-be cheese and/or bread artisan, they also offer a full-season (10-12 month) apprenticeship, which covers all aspects of grass-based milk production, cheesemaking, ripening room operations, baking, and direct marketing. You can even buy a gift certificate for bread and cheese making classes (the next one is scheduled for July 19th)! Some of their best products include a semi-firm Drumm, a cave-ripened Cheddar, and an ale-washed cheese called Foret. Jonathan even sells bread starter for those who want to try their own hand at breadmaking. For those interested in buying meat or cheese, Bobolink sells at many farm markets in the NYC metro area. If you can't make it to the Union Square Market in NY, consider ordering online. Bobolink ships in the United States, all year (although some products are only available seasonally, such as pasture-fed veal in June and grass-fed beef in the fall). As with many time-sensitive food products, it's best if you order before 10 AM on Monday so that your order can be shipped on Monday or Tuesday, for delivery by Thursday. Bobolink uses reusable insulated shipping boxes and chill-packs (or dry ice with meat orders) to keep the food in good shape during transit.

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1 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Grass-fed is the way to go. We just do beef on our ranch (Bradys Idaho Beef) but we used to have a dairy as well. What quantity do you produce each year?

7/10/2009 01:20:00 AM  

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