January on the Farm
Making a Difference for the Environment – with Our Food Choices!
By Peggie Griffin
Its that time of year again when we are enjoying the summer’s fruits and vegetables from our freezers . . . or canning jars. All that time spent harvesting and preserving is paying off now. This cold weather makes me really enjoy that big pot of vegetable soup. . . and it is so nice to have fresh blueberries for breakfast. Also, my garden is still yielding delicious lettuces, green onions, and turnip greens. What a treat!
If you are not enjoying summer’s bounty from your freezer, I hope one of your New Year’s resolutions will be to buy or locally – or grow, and to preserve fruits and veggies for winter. Delicious – healthy – and more earth friendly!
When we were preparing for the locally-grown refreshments for the Wild and Rural Art show in October, I discovered a goat dairy within a 45 minute drive of where I live. The cheeses we purchased from them were a big hit. So this dairy is our featured farm this month.
Farm of the Month: Mountain View Dairy LLC
Nestled in the mountains of Calhoun County, Mountain View Dairy is a place of peace and beauty for its owners, Joseph and Cindy Crosby. Joe grew up on a dairy farm, and Cindy grew up on a beef cattle farm, so they have always enjoyed farm life. They had been looking for land for their own farm for some time, but it seemed that so many of the places they considered were too commercialized. And then they found this beautiful place in Piedmont – and fell in love with it.
Cindy and Joe started looking into starting a goat dairy in 2004, became a LLC in April, 2004, and got their commercial license in March, 2009. They decided to raise goats because their acreage was better suited for goats. The added benefit is that a gall bladder removal keeps Cindy from being able to drink cow’s milk – but she thrives on goat’s milk.
They decided to raise Senaan goats because of the lower butterfat content of milk, and it tastes more like cow’s milk. A higher butterfat content causes some of the goat taste in the milk. The taste of the milk is also a result of how you handle it. Mishandling is what makes the goat flavor come out in it.
Mountain View is called an artisan dairy, because they are do everything on their farm – from raising and caring for the goats to producing the milk and cheese. Even though they are a fairly new business, Cindy reports that they are selling all they can produce. They offer both goat milk and cheeses including feta, gouda, and chevre’. The chevre’ comes in a variety of herbal selections, such as Herbs De Provence, sun dried tomatoes and basil, and breakfast medley. This year their cheese was a third place winner in the Commercial Division at the American Dairy Goat Association in Buffalo NY.
Mountain View milk and cheeses are available at V Richard’s on Clairmont Dr. in Birmingham, Manna Grocery in Tuscaloosa and at Lively’s Grocery in Piedmont. The cheeses are available Tyson’s Art & Frames (wine shop), the Victorian Restaurant, and White Oak Vineyard in Anniston and the Duck Springs Winery in Attalla. The cheese is also distributed through Grow Alabama. One can also order cheeses, soap, and lotions from their website, www.mvcheesry.com, or purchase straight from the farm.
It is apparent that Cindy and Joe are very committed to producing only the finest. Cindy commented, “We take pride in our cheeses. With my husband being a USDA inspector, we are very familiar with how to safely handle the cheese and milk. We suggest that all milk and cheese be stored at 38 degrees.”
When asked for a recipe, Cindy recommended a recipe by columnist and cookbook author, Prudence Hilburn. It appears in her new book “Let’s Party” with Ease and Enjoyment.
Recipe of the Month
Angus Beef Cheese Spread
(With Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Chevre')
12 oz. cream cheese
6 oz. Smoked Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Chevre'*
(See note below)
1 cup ground or finely chopped cooked Angus beef roast
2/3 cup finely chopped nuts of choice
Combine all ingredients except nuts and beat until well blended. Spoon
mix into a shallow bowl and top with nuts.
*Smoked Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Chevre’ is made by MV Cheesery. For more information, go to www.mvcheesery.com or call (888) 339-8667.