Hawthorne Valley Farm is a certified organic diversified biodynamic farm in Ghent, NY. Their 60 cow dairy operation is a mix of Swiss Brown, Jersey, and Holstein. The Brown Swiss and Jersey cow’s milk content has higher fat, making it perfect for their cheeses and yogurt. They have been making lacto-fermented vegetable products since 1999. It started with a crock, a bit of cabbage left over from the harvest of the vegetable garden, and a little salt. The results were a hit, and they have been making sauerkraut ever since.
We are often asked about the differences between raw-milk cheese and cheese made from pasteurized milk. First, what is raw-milk cheese?
Cheese produced from milk that, prior to setting the curd, has not been heated above the temperature of the milk (104°F, 40°C) at the time of milking and that the cheese produced from that milk shall be aged for 60 days or longer at a temperature of not less than 35°F (2°C) in accordance with US FDA regulations.
The simple answer to why produce raw-milk cheeses is the flavor. The complex mix of organisms naturally occurring in raw milk leads to a depth of flavor that pasteurized cheeses can’t really approach. That’s not to say that there aren’t any pasteurized cheeses that are excellent, nor are all raw-milk cheeses revelations, but the trend is undeniable.
In one study, researchers at France’s Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique made the same cheeses from both raw and pasteurized milk. The raw-milk versions developed flavor sooner and the flavor was richer and more complex. The researchers’ conclusion: Pasteurization alters the biochemistry and microbiology of ripening and thus the texture and flavor of the cheese.
All things being equal, raw milk will produce a more complex cheese than pasteurized milk.
An artisan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who crafts items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, household items, and tools. Artisan is also used to describe the producer of hand-crafted foods that require an advanced level of knowledge and skill.
At Farmers & Artisans, we use artisan as an adjective suggestive of handmade goods and old-fashioned craftsmanship. A term bestowed upon the products of the cheesemaker, breadbaker, sausagemaker, etc., who labors in his or her craft, independent of the pressures of industrial food, to produce high quality, small-batch edibles.
Some of our artisan products are also farmstead, meaning these foodstuffs, usually cheeses, are made on-site at the very farm where the dairy animals are kept and milked (or, in the case of other farmstead goods, where the pertinent crops are grown).