Friday, March 28, 2008


I officially have over 600# in the coolers now. Beeswaxed all the Gouda. Have a lovely burgundy colour I made for the Havarti and black for the Dunlop. Cut hand bad while chipping out beeswax. Had to have Tim (cow breeder) drop off the arm length gloves to make cheese yesterday. Also dropped one of the wheels in the wax (hand hurt + thin wheel = splash). Wax makes a mess.

Beeswax is hard to work with. Brittle. You have to use another "oil" to work with it. Vegetable shortning, olive oil, mineral oil or whey butter are the better ones to work with. It imparts a mead flovor through the cheese. Works nice on gouda. Not so good the cheddar types.

I am tired, but happy that cheese making is coming along as well as it has this year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It Took the Radish

Well the computer finally took the radish. It limped through taxes and responces to the MOA signing for the Kerry Cattle Society and then it kept throwing errors at me. I am now at the library. Have a cold. It is blustery. I made about 90# of cheese in that little vat of mine! Woof!

Have over 500# in the coolers now. This is nice. Waxing left and right. Dunlop, Havarti (one batch), Honey Gouda...

People are interested in the farm. I don't think the message is getting out there correctly. After the computer thing is sorted, I'll be working on that...

Have to keep going. I only have 30 minutes on this thing.

Friday, March 07, 2008

New Farmers

I was a new farmer once. I was and am still a hopless dreamer. Marge thinks that is why we get on so well. Dreamers actually have a possible job in life. They call them "Planners". This can be a Conservation Specialist (doing conservation plans), CNMP plans if you want to consider extra large farms, Financial Planner (so not me), consultant who does business plans... A lot of non-profit, educational and government types also have this planning bit about them. See there is more to dreamers than just pretty clouds to look at!

I have to do this talk about Business Plans tomorrow. I like the process of business planning. Dave thinks it is a waste of time. Sucks to be perfect! I like it because I can put all of the contingencies in paper and then use this as a "To Do" list. Being organizationally challenged, I need "to do" lists to function.

Business Plans can serve a few functions. They can get you financing. They can assist you in planning an new enterprise. They can be adapted for a grant to make it sound like you know what you are talking about... I've used them for all of the above.

My farmstead cheese business plan was the most fun to write. See, I am an obsessive planner if I use the words "fun" and "business plan" in the same sentence. It is different than a term paper. More like a strategic plan.

I am roughly on plan. A few things like a compressor that cooked Christmas cheeses in November, a boiler guy that didn't give me what I asked for and then charged me more for it... Little thinks like that were kinda planned for. After the nervous break down... I started to make more cheese.

I am making cheese most every day right now. Gouda yesterday. Havarti today. Over 60# of cheese and after my talk for the New Farmers program my county extension person is hosting, I will be making yoghurt and setting some milk up for Quark. Cheese cheese cheese. A great thing happened today too. A local woman came by to get milk for cheese making. She is going to try ricotta and fresh moz. I sold her a half-pint of rennet. She is getting into the whole cheese thing.

Right now I also have to revisit the Marketing Plan. Package design, labels, UPC codes, etc, regional focus this year... Wooohooo, more cheese, more planning!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Cheese Season

I did survive the winter. Winter is still here, but I am more opptomistic about things. A lot has happened... All cheesy things too.

Got to go to Long Island to help with the shooting of an t.v. show called "Kitchen Nightmares" with this chef Gordon Ramsey. The premise is that he goes into a restaurant in trouble and tries various things to help them succeed rather than fail. This restaurant was an Italian one. Tuscan influence I believe. I was there to make sure the fresh mozzarella bit worked out. I had many contingencies planned for. Even brought stuff to do the direct acidified version if needed (tricky for a newbie who needs it "on" for the camera. They did do a good stretch for the camera. He got bits about the making of the actual curd wrong, but he did do great for such short notice and only working with this buffalo moz. in the UK. It was fun and I enjoyed the whole bit.

After that, I went up to Orford, NH to work with Bruce and Christine Balch with their 100% milking devon herd. BOY was that milk different than Kerry and Ayrshire milk. Very high fat and solids. Like working with jersey milk, onlu not musky like that milk can get. I liked the color, the clean smell and the way it made a lactic curd (quark). Any of you considering a blue cheese, get yourself a herd of these cows! I am impressed.

I did learn that I do not like the vats made up there in NH. The man was helpful and did take questions at all hours, but the vat had a 2 degree difference from the top to the bottom for a raw milk cheese. The agitator was very quick, even at the low speed and you have to be a rather tall person to work in the 35 gal. vat. It was designed to be a chevre vat I guess. That is about all I would recommend it for.

Started to make cheese for the year. Commercial batches, not the stuff I do on the kitchen or cut&wrap room counter. Made my standard, gouda. Dave and I piped over the hot water from the propane hot water heater to help stabilize the cook temperature. That made things better.

I have been experimenting with blue cheeses for the last month. The devon milk intregued me. I have this bloomy rind/blue thing in mind using those Italian molds I bought 3 years ago and never fully utilized. That and I will play with bloomy/surface rind cheeses with those moulds regardless of the blue thing going on..

Computer is not in a happy place and has to be replaced.

Sheep had lambs. I think the high grain prices will spell the end of many flocks this year. I already heard about a couple rather large flocks selling out. Too bad. They use to be such a great "beginner" farmer animal. I love the calm, simple needs of a sheep. They are also wonderful for children to work with. Who can resist lambs in the spring? They are Maple Sugar for me (early spring thing).

Have to get back to getting farm stand ready for the season...