Friday, February 4, 2011

Comings and Goings

It's been a big week for comings and goings here. Adrienne Fiakas, who interned at the farm and has been hired on for next season, came back early this week -- she'll be staying with us two weeks before heading back to the big city for the last of her vacation time before our season starts in March. And Helen and Rick fly out tomorrow for a month in sunny Belize, their annual vacation, as always specially timed to leave the rest of us with the worst possible weather. None of us grudge them their well-earned rest, however (much), and we'll do our best to keep things rolling smoothly in their absence.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cows in the Snow

It's been a quiet week here on the farm; our only real excitement was the purchase of a new tractor which had all the boys running around arguing over who got to drive first. Those of us less enamored of heavy machinery have been staying prudently inside and trying to keep warm.
Unlike us frail humans, cows aren't much bothered by snow. Because they're ruminants, their digestion gives off enough body heat to keep cattle perfectly comfortable when it's chilly. A cow in winter doesn't want to be inside -- she just wants more food! For the curious, we've got a few pictures of our girls in the snow up in our photo album:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Our Cellar Manager

 Rather than complaining about the weather this week (again), we thought we'd instead offer you a profile of one of the few people who've stuck with us through the bad weather... Laddawan (Da) Bryant, our cellar manager. Da originally hails from Surin Provence in Thailand, but came here two years ago after marrying an American. We started her in on the never-ending task of washing the cheeses in the cellar -- work that has driven many a gung-ho youngster away  -- but rather than being bored by the long hours surrounded by nothing but cheese, Da was fascinated. She was constantly asking us why this happened or that cheese did that. She quickly developed a strong understanding of the slow but essential process of aging, and for the last year has been managing the cellar almost single-handedly. There isn't a cheese we ship out that hasn't benefited from Da's hard work and unwavering attention to detail. We've always said that our cheeses were made in the cellar as much as in the cheeseroom, and there's nothing that's proved it more than having someone as hard-working, cheerful, and competent as Da on the job.

Friday, December 31, 2010

End of a year, and press

2010 brought many good things to Meadow Creek - our new energy efficient wood and solar fired boiler, awards for both Appalachian and Grayson at ACS, and our new porter washed mini-Graysons. We saw some challenges, too - record snows and record dry periods.

Various magazines, columns and blogs had good things to say about our cheeses; the latest from Janet Fletcher this week in her San Francisco Chronicle cheese column. An admitted fan of Grayson, she praised Appalachian saying "the internal color is fantastic, a deep sunflower yellow from the carotene in the cow's diet." She went on to note "the aroma is shy, hinting at warm butter and cream, the flavor mild and buttery... the cheese coats your palate, like soft fudge".

Thanks Janet, and many thanks to all our friends and customers for a great year. Here's hoping 2011 lives up to it!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snow Days

The early snowstorm that covered the pastures last Saturday is driving all the news at Meadow Creek. Without access to grass for our herd, we had to stop cheesemaking a week earlier than expected. We believe that our cheese should only be made when the cows are getting most of their nutrition from grass. The cheese house staff will now concentrate all their efforts in the cellar and on sales. Because we are a raw milk cheese producer the cheese we made last week won't come of age for release until early February. At this point we expect to have Grayson and Appalachian available into the first part of March and possibly longer. Mountaineer will be available until July.

Enjoy the snow, everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grayson A Good Food Awards Finalist

We're very pleased to announce our Grayson is one of the finalists in the brand new Good Food Awards - The Good Food Awards will be given across five American regions and in seven food categories. In the cheese category, the judges picked out the "tastiest" cheeses which also met their standards of "good animal husbandry, without the use of hormones, and without the use of herbicides and pesticides on the pastures and in feed." We're honored to be one of the five finalists in the Eastern region.

Winners for the Good Food Awards will be announced at a ceremony in San Francisco on January 14, 2011.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sustainable energy on the farm...

Now that the temperatures have dropped we are really reaping the benefits of our wood and solar fired boiler. It's fully operational, heating our water and providing warmth for all areas of the cheesehouse. Already we've seen significant savings in our propane usage.

Installation of this system has been yet another step in Meadow Creek's long term focus on sustainability, one of the Dairy's primary goals from its very beginning in 1988. The low emissions boiler uses downed wood from our 80 wooded acres - allowing us to close the waste loop and utilize more resources from the farm. We can truly boast that our award winning cheese based on flavor and texture is also a winner for the environment.