Learning from a Goat Cheese Maker
Christmas-time 2013 I met Pam Miller, of Charlottetown Farm. I had volunteered to organize food for the TEDxBaltimore Conference. This 800 person event was in January. Charlottetown Farms' chèvre and cheesecake samples highlighted Baltimore's winter bounty from local purveyors. It was strictly a business connection. Pam Miller knew the event was simply an authentic way to promote, along with other local farms and restaurants. It's been a pet project of mine to focus attention on food-based business that serve and sell when the bounty in winter, when farm fields are hibernating.
As life would have it, that event forged a friendship that surpasses business. As our chatter grew, Pam's refrain, all year long was, "hey, you should make chèvre, it's easy!". Quietly, in my brain ran the subtitle, "oh, yah... great idea, I'll just learn how....I don't even know how to do that!!!?" So, here it is, December. Our friendship took us to NYC. Our mutual love of cheese took us on a planned trip to Saxelby Cheese at Exxex Street Market, owned by cheese-goddess Ann Saxelby. For those who don't know, she is a pioneer in NYC, who now runs a fantastic artisinal cheese shop in Manhattan, and runs a cheese cave in Red Hook (Brooklyn). We also had the delightful treat to be given a tour of Martha Stewarts' offices and kitchen!! What a treat that was! We met the staff of fantastically talented writers, chefs, video staffers... an impressive and kind team.
And here it is, December, and I am finally giving in to Pam's plan for me. She delivered goats milk from her farm, along with the cheesecloth, rennet and microbial bacteria I need to make this batch. Mind you, i have a ridiculously small, useless kitchen. And yes, I am envious of Martha Stewarts' kitchen; and yes, I was wishing I could use my former Boheme Cafe kitchen. The reality: I managed to make the cheese, with a little stress from my conditions! So here is the photoessay, of cheesemaking. It's an herb chèvre.