Cheese Weekend December 3, 2011

The fun just seems to go on and on!  How lucky are we?

Three (yes, 3) great chances to find us this weekend.  We will be at the annual awesome event in Anacortes at Compass Wines from 11am-5pm for the new release of ded. reckoning and the other vintners and fine food folks that will be there.  This is I think our 6th year to do this with them.  It is never disappointing.  Some really nice wine tastings and special pricing all day.

Debbie will again be your host at the Bellingham Farmers Market from 10am-3pm.  She will be outside in about the usual space.  Some of you have pre-orders, and she’s on it!  So come on out, don’t make her turn into a cheese-sicle for nothing.

And the Farm Stand is open here at the farm from 10am-2pm.

Whew!  That’s kind of a busy schedule for us for this time of year.  Thank those lovely goat girls for us too will ya?  The first credit goes to them-every time!

Texas Girl Goats

All of our goats are registered with the American Dairy Goat Association.  They are all of the breed LaMancha.  We have been caretakers for these magnificent animals for about 8-9 years now (meaning in the big scheme of goat breeders, we are neophytes).  Every so often I look on the ADGA website and see what stats might be out there on them.  I know in a day to day, week to week, and year to year basis that they are great girls, giving 110% every day of their life, but sometimes I stop to reflect on how they “measure up” to others in the registry.  Now in no way do I mean to imply they are super, above all others, or anything remotely near that.  I have some awesome mentors out there who have forgotten way more than I will ever know.  What I do find, is the girls hold their own.  I am proud of them every day.  When I look them up, I feel a few words of recognition are earned.

Working Moms

Samson

Today is one of those days.

We have 4 does on the Elite Doe list:  Zia, Opal, Topaz, & Victoria.  Elite doe status is awarded to does in the top 5% of their breed category.

Opal & Her Quints

We have 13 (of our 20 milkers) with their Superior Genetics ratings: Joe Zell, Zia, Pearl, Wynona, Ditto, Opal, Zanna, Eliza, Naomi, Topaz, Yasmin, Zuppa, & Victoria.  Superior Genetics is awarded to does in the top 15% of their breed category.

And one of our bucks: Samson has his +*B-also an excellent rating. Samson is not our breeding, so thank you Just As I  Am for him!

This does not just happen.  We participate in DHIA milk test annually and have linear appraisal done on our animals every 2 years.  We are as committed to the quality of our animals as we are to the quality of our cheeses.  It all goes hand in hand.

Cheese Weekend November 19-20, 2011

Thanksgiving-one of my favorites!  Hopefully most of you are “Eating Local” for all you can.  We certainly have abundance in our area.  Remember, ask for ideas if you want suggestions.

You will find us, our cheeses, our cheesecakes, cookies, crackers…….at:

Anacortes Farmers Market Holiday Market:
Saturday AND Sunday  10am-4pm   At the Port Warehouse (at the end of Commercial Avenue-out over the water) and inside!!

Bellingham Farmers Market:
Saturday 10am-3pm  We are outside, under the shed.

Gothberg Farms on-Farm Stand:
Saturday 10am-2pm

You can also place your orders for full size chèvre cheesecakes for just-in-time Thanksgiving pick up here at the farm.

We are already accepting orders for our Goat Cheese Lasagna for Christmas too.  Order early.  Quantities limited.

Grandmothers

We all get two of them.  Some of us are lucky enough to really get to share our lives with them.  I am one of the lucky ones.  My parents never strayed far from home, so I was lucky enough to grow up in the same town as both of my Grandmothers.  We all lived in Beaumont, Texas and my relationship with them spanned the 1950’s through the 1990’s.  Now I rarely would have defined Beaumont and “Lucky” in the same sentence.  There were a lot of reasons I chose to stray myself.  I remain grateful for the opportunities I have had since leaving so long ago, but there are a few regrets-all involving family ties.

I’ve shared before about NanNaw Zell-that beloved lady who influenced some good onto this rowdy spirit of mine.

But “Lucky” I am.  My paternal Grandmother Granny Nannie-was also important to me.  I had the esteemed position of ‘oldest’ grandchild, even though there were older cousins far away in California.  Their father had strayed. I get it.

Her real name is Nannie Griggs.  She grew up in deep East Texas (Newton County).  Her family started in Texas before it was really Texas.  They had a land grant of some sort comprising 8000 acres, and 40 acres of that original plat is still in the family.  They had the grist mill, the saw mill, and all else required for taming the wilds of the Texas woods.

October 2011

Nannie left the farm for the city.  I never knew my real Grandfather, only her second husband.  Nannie was an accomplished seamstress.  This she passed to me.  The summer before 6th grade, I made my entire wardrobe!!  I don’t sew at all anymore.  Shame on me.  She worked in town at Shepherd’s Laundry where she embroidered name badges and sewed uniforms.  It would be classified as a sweat shop by today’s standards, I am sure.    I recall this building just as I found it in October 2011.  When she worked there we would sometimes pick her up from work.  All of these windows would be open and no air conditioning.  It is a really hot place, not to mention machinery and steam presses working.  I never recall her complaining.  She also ‘took in’ sewing for others.  She crocheted and tatted too.  And she always had her little vegetable garden patch too.  Just goes to prove you can’t take the country out of the girl I guess.  She also dipped snuff.  I recall her being able to hit her little spit can from across the room, and never miss!  She enjoyed a little nip in her egg nog at Christmas.  I wish I had known more of her stories.  She was no push over, be assured.  She lived a hard enough life, but much easier than some of her counterparts of the times.  Another strong Texas woman of pioneer stock who knew how to work hard and how to survive and how to be a part of the family.  For all of this, I thank her.

October 2011

Farmers Markets Authenticity

A discussion came up today in the cheese room.  It has come up many times before in many different settings.  Still, it nags at me.

When you shop at a farmers market, and buy from a known local producer, do you “assume” that everything on their table is from them, produced or grown by them, and represents only their farm/operation?  That is of course, unless they have clearly labeled it otherwise?  How do you feel about the produce person who may supplement their table with other locally grown items, but not told you?  Do you automatically assume they grew all of it themselves?  Not picking on produce here, just an example.  Another example might be who really actually produced all that honey in that jar?  Who really actually milked that animal that gave the milk for that bottle of milk or hunk of cheese?  Or who actually grew that animal for meat?  And from what point, birth, or purchased to “finish off” just prior to marketing?

This is not finger pointing, as I know of very little of this going on, but it does happen.  One thought is a) it is deceptive and not right b) one thought is that it is the buyers duty not to assume and ask c) one is that no one really cares.

Where are you on this one?

Wine Wednesday 4

Funny how we are coming to look forward to Wednesday now!  The planning is almost as fun as the enjoying.

For this week we have decided it might be fun to be a little Italy-nostalgic.  Rhonda was there in 2008 for Slow Food Terra Madre, just about this time of year.  It was trip of a lifetime.  This Beaumont TX girl never quite imagined being in Italy!  Heck, she was far from home and out of place in Connecticut!  That is another story.

For tonight, we traveled only as far as our Slough Food in Edison for the wine.  We chose the Langhe Rosso.  It is a beautiful color in the glass.  It is quite good with the cheeses we have chosen.

Italy Nostalgia

These are all cheeses we make here at the farm with our milk.  The foreground is our Raw Milk Caprino Romano with Cracked Pepper rind.  It is almost sweet, but bursts with flavor when grated over pasta.  It is quite good on a cheese plate as well.   The middle one is our Raw Milk Parmesan.  It is sweet, flavorful, mild, and easy to eat!!  Because our milk is so rich and mild, our cheeses never get the flaky, crumbly texture.   Over time, the flavors intensify and jump to the front of the line. We live with that. It’s worth it.   Both of these are aged over a year.

The third cheese is our Delizia della Tavola.  This is a cheese we developed to mimic a delicious and memorable cheese we had for lunch in Italy.  This is not the same at all, just an approximation that evokes the  memories every time!  The name means “Delight of the Table”.  Thank you Silvio (our esteemed Italian friend) for the superb name.  The cheese itself is sweet, mild, almost buttery.  The rind is cured with olive oil and rubbed with basil, rosemary, savory, and sage.  We don’t have tons of it, but when it is available, you should plan a picnic and go with it.  Of course this time year in the Pacific Northwest, that may mean in front of your fireplace…..but heck, don’t pass up the opportunity. 
These cheeses all paired well with the wine.  Then, a lightbulb went off and Rhonda remembered a cheese she had in the fridge (also from Slough Food).  It was also quite good with this array.  It is Pecorino Toscano, a sheeps’ milk cheese from Tuscany which has pistachios in it.  OK, so what is not to like here? 
Olive Oil Crackers

Polenta Ricotta Cookies

All enjoyed nicely with our own Olive Oil Crackers.  Yes, we do indeed make these right here, on site.  Whole wheat and semolina flour.  We experimented to get just the right crumb for our own cheeses.  These are available at most farmers markets.

Not to be overlooked, is the ‘dessert’.  This would be (again) our own Polenta Ricotta Cookies.  This has become a staple favorite.  Well, it is a toss up some days whether to have the cookies or the Lemon Chèvre Cheesecake????/Hmmmm……life is full of really good choices.

Life here on the farm is ever blessed.  We take great blessings from the idea that we will likely never starve.  Knowing how, and genuinely loving, producing our own food is an immensely important part of life here.  Thanks to the goats, the land,  and all who participate in lovingly bringing us, and you, these foods.

Treats & Eats Sunday

Sunday evening was a fun and special time.  We Gothberg Girls (ok, us and a few others) got together here at the farm for a night of cheese and get together.  The invitation was to come of course, but everyone was to bring a cheese and something to accompany it.  We sure ended up with a diverse and delicious collection.  This was a fun way to try and learn some new cheeses. The accompaniments were pretty great too.  I hope we repeat this one some day.

A Feast of Cheese

Farm Stand Open October 29th-Christmas

Most of you  know we don’t have an actual “Farm Store” but more like a farm stand on a limited & seasonal basis.  This is due to the nature of  farm work, especially on such a small farm as ours.  The goats are milked twice each day & their health & well-being are assessed & evaluated many times a day.  Cheese is made 4-5 days a week, with cheese/cheese room/cheese ageing duties 7 days a week.  Add in packing, wrapping, marketing, distribution, farmers markets…..I think you are probably getting a general idea.  We just don’t have the “free” time to make it happen any more often.

That said, we do love it when we get to be open.  It is a good time to find our cheese off-season from most of the farmers markets, but more than anything it is a good time to come talk about the farm in a more relaxed atmosphere.  You get to see the goats (but not touch them).  You are able to ask us any questions you may have.

Our hours are 10am-2pm.  We have considered going to 4pm, but that starts to push almost to milking time.  We will see what your response is this year and reevaluate if need be.

So, plan your “Edison loop” this weekend and stop by.  Also in our area is Samish Bay Cheese (organic cow), Golden Glen Creamery (cow),  Slough Foods (awesome Mediterranean grocery store), Breadfarm (OK, just the best!), a host of eateries, and of course some of the most beautiful farm scenery just about anywhere.

Special orders gladly accepted.  We are happy to assist you with your cheese serving ideas and party plans with CHEESE!!

Wine Wednesday 3

The weather in the Pacific Northwest has gone from late summer, to cool, sunny & crisp, to “coastal mist” cooler & gray-in about 12 hours. We are running  high 40’s to 50’s each day-not my favorite season would be putting it mildly.  We have already hit the 30’s & our day length is shortened by over 5 hours a day already. UGH!  I know what is just around the corner, and I don’t just mean kidding season.  So, with this change in the weather, I could not resist tonight’s choice of wine “Weather Report” from Peter’s Cellars in Mattawa, WA.  We had the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is a ripe, plush Cab.  The tannins are soft and smooth. It is a very approachable wine, yet full-bodied.  It is easily drinkable, enjoyable, and was able to carry some pretty diverse and delicious flavors as well.  I am very pleased with this value priced wine.  It is available at Slough Food in Edison WA.

Caerphilly, Ewephoria, Salumi, & Breadfarm too!

But of course, the wine alone does not do justice to the #winewednesday.  We do have our personal favorites we like to pair with.  Tonight’s choices with this wine are: our own Gothberg Farms goats’ milk Caerphilly, just sharp enough to add character.  We matched it up with Ewephoria, a most delightful, sweet, almost dessert-like sheeps’ milk gouda from Friesland, Holland.  The two were a great compliment.  We added in a little charcuterie from Salumi Meats in Seattle.  For this match we chose the spicy paprika blend.  The paprika added just the right amount of spunk for this wine which carried all of them beautifully.  Breadfarm baguette was the perfect accompaniment for all.  A few Marcona almonds from Spain-and dinner was pretty much complete at appetizer!!!

And how lucky are we here in Bow/Edison?? The wine, meat, almonds, Ewephoria-all from our beloved Slough Food.  Then, right next door, the Breadfarm. And the Caerphilly, right from our own cheese cooler.  Come check us all out!!!  Great tastes await.

Wine & Cheese Tasting November 5, 2011

Save the Date!  Program your phone reminders!  Mark your calendars!

November 5, 2011

2:00 PM-5:00 PM

Cost: TBA (but it will be very reasonable)

We are having our first wine and cheese tasting with our friends at Purple Smile Wines in Bellingham.  This is sure to be lots of fun and a great introduction to more great wines and incredible cheeses.  There will be about 7 wines to choose among and 5-6 of our goat cheeses.  UMMMMM…………

So head on out that day to the Farmers Market, do you shopping for the week, and top off the day with a visit to your favorite local wine shop.