Friday, October 29, 2010

The Mountaineers are coming!

Good things come to those who are patient -- we are pleased to announce the release of Mountaineer, our alpine-style cheese for the season. The beginning of cheesemake last spring seems like a distant memory, but the first of our Mountaineers have been aging graciously in our cellar all this time.

Our cheesemakers are really pleased with this year's Mountaineer. They feel it has hit its stride tasting sweet and fruity, with a satisfying toasted aftertaste. The wheels wield 14 pounds of tasty goodness and they'll be rolling every which way into specialty cheese shops next week. We dare you to spot (and taste!) these delicious red giants.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Meadow Creek Cheese!...Mini Grayson

We are pleased to announce the release of our newest experiment in affinage -- the Mini Grayson. For some time we've had an interest in making a smaller format cheese, and our very successful Grayson seemed a perfect candidate. We combined the traditional European practice of washing cheese in spirits with Highland Brewing Company's excellent local beers to create a cheese that surpassed our expectations. More than just a pint-sized Grayson, the Mini has taken on a style all its own.

Petit and flavorful, the Mini has Grayson's distinctive reddish-orange rind but with a silkier, melting texture. In taste it is sweet and grassy with a mild yeastiness and a strong creamy finish. As the Mini crosses the sixty-day line, it takes on more of the characteristics of the beer we wash it in, developing a sweet, hoppy taste like the head on a pint of draft beer.

The Minis are going out to retailers as we speak, though in very limited quantities. Keep an eye out for these little gems!

Friday, October 15, 2010

We're Seasonal...

This was pregnancy check week at Meadow Creek. So how do you know if a cow is pregnant? We use ultrasound, a non-invasive and low stress method that also lets us see the heartbeat. We are happy to announce that we will have 21 first-time mommas next spring, along with our current milkers who will again give birth.

Pregnancy is a big deal on dairy farms; without it cows would not give milk. On both conventional and seasonal dairies, all cows get a 60-day rest, or dry period, before calving. However, on a conventional dairy a certain percentage of the cows are dry at any given time and the rest are at various stages of lactation. This results in milk that is virtually the same year round.

On a seasonal dairy like Meadow Creek, the milk changes with the season. This is due in large part to the fact that all cows are bred in the same short time frame and will all calve within a 60-day time period starting in March. And all are dry at the same time from late December until they calve. In the spring all our cows are in early lactation, giving milk with lower fat and protein, while in the fall they are all in late lactation, giving milk that is high in these milk solids. The result is a seasonally changing cheese, as you Grayson fans are well aware.