Friday, March 28, 2014

This Week at the South Durham Farmers' Market

This  Week at the Market
  • Saturday 9am-Noon Greenwood Commons 54110 Hwy 55 Durham, NC 27713
  • Educational Guest: Food & Water Watch
  • In Season: basil, tomatoes, potatoes, kale, lettuce, flowers, cabbage.
More Cheese, Please!
A couple of weeks ago, I visited Prodigal Farm with friends for the immense mood lift that comes with seeing cute baby goats. I wrote an article for the Herald Sun about the experience, and I learned a lot more about their excellent goat cheeses.

I was most surprised to hear that goat cheeses should not taste goaty. Dave Krabbe, co-owner of Prodigal farm, explained that goat’s milk is much more susceptible to absorbing the smells and flavors of the environment than cow’s milk. To avoid picking up undesirable terroir, David and his wife and co-owner, Kathryn Spann, are fanatical about the cleanliness of their milking stations and cheese room.

When I visited, they weren’t making much cheese, but following kidding season, they will make cheese every two days. The process begins with bringing goats to the milking stations from the loafing pen (a sheltered area adjacent to the dairy). The goats’ milk travels through tubes into the stainless steel, refrigerated bulk tank in the next room. Once cooled, the milk is gently gravity fed (agitation lowers the quality of the milk) into the pasteurizer, and then it is time to make cheese!

The easiest cheeses to make are the young chèvres, which Prodigal Farm makes more complex with inventive flavors. The Bollywood Poire is a delicious spread for curry-lovers, and the cherry-almond chèvre makes a great tea time snack smeared across Ninth Street Bakery’s gingersnaps.

The trickier cheeses are those with bloomy rinds, including the Crottin, Field of Creams and Hunkadora. Prodigal Farm purchases the cultures to ensure reliable flavor, and rinses the cheeses frequently to control the mold’s growth. Recently, they have been expanding into more aged cheeses, like the deliciously fragrant Hopalong. (My husband and I quickly devoured our wedge of Hopalong with apple and pear slices.)

To make more hard aged cheeses, more room and equipment is needed, and Prodigal Farm is asking for your help! This Sunday, from 5pm to 8pm, come out to the Mystery Brewing Public House to support their Kickstarter campaign to raise $45,000 and sample their current small-batch of aged cheeses.

But, you don’t have to wait until Sunday for a taste; Prodigal Farm will be at the market tomorrow with coolers full of cheese and samples on the table. 

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