Blackberry Farm

Cheese

Perhaps better than any other product made on the premises, cheese translates the character of this place at a particular point in time. The Blackberry Farm Dairy began in 2004 with the purchase of 12 East Friesian dairy sheep. While our flock has grown to over 60 since then, our focus continues to be producing the finest ewes’ milk cheese possible and doing so in the traditional manner and on a small farmstead scale. Recipes and cheese making techniques have been developed to reflect the qualities unique to this farm, to embody and emote the terroir here in the Appalachian Mountains.

The cheeses we produce change with the weather. The first of these cheeses to be produced is the small(2-3oz), mold ripened cheese called Violet. This cheese is produced from the first milk of the year while the ewes are grazing the new growth grasses. The milk is less acidic and slightly lower in fat during this period of time. The rich,yielding Violet is pungent and full flavored with a white mold rind produced by penicillium candidum.

As the weather begins to warm, a second soft cheese is produced. The milk gradually becomes richer and the wide variety of forage gives the milk a slightly floral character, Trefoil is made. This pasteurized cheese is slightly firmer and more delicately flavored with a pungent edge to the rind. The cheese is hand washed to develop its rind each day for three to four weeks while aging. Once released, it can be enjoyed for three to four more weeks.

Once we truly move into the summer months, when Trefoil is no longer made, the hearty grasses and legumes fill the pastures. The ewes’ milk continues to gain natural acidity and a higher fat percentage. This is the perfect time to produce a cheese with a character defined by natural blue culture (penicillium roquefourti) with the salty iodine background so perfect with a rich wine. Blackberry blue is aged for two to four months gaining intensity with each passing week.

As summer comes to and end and the nights begin to cool the ewes become selective, only eating the most nutritious plants and grasses, yielding more and more concentrated milk. The cheese produced now must be able to capture and focus the amazing quality of flavor of the milk. We do this by producing a hard cheese aged a minimum of 120 days named Singing Brook. This boule shaped firm cheese is overflowing with the complex caramel richness only ewes milk can provide. Its layers of flavor are almost endless. Singing Brook is mature at six months of age and the flavor continues to improve for more than a year.

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