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Cheese if you please

Local cheesemakers offer fresh alternative to store-bought

Local cheesemakers offer fresh alternative to store-bought

November 05, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Local cheese makers have good stories behind their curds.

Brad Parker, who makes chévre in Greencastle, Pa., fell in love with artisan goat cheese after spending his summers working at goat farms in France.

Alice Orzechowski, who owns Caprikorn Farms, in Gapland, Md., with her husband, Scott Hoyman, likes her goat cheese on everything - even tacos.

The same passion Parker and Orzechowski have for cheese making, they have for cheese eating. And if you ask whether homemade cheese is really that big of a deal ...?

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"The difference is night and day," said Karl Brown, host of "Cooking Fresh, Cooking Local," and a former chef at Yellow Brick Bank in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

He compared it with eating produce picked a few hours previously with eating produce picked weeks earlier. In the end, fresh is always better.

Shepherdstown restaurateur and chef Michael Luksa said he learned how to make the mozzarella he serves at The Press Room from a delicatessen owner from Italy.

"When you make your own, you have more control over the salt content," he said.

Parker walked The Herald-Mail through the basic process at Pipe Dreams Fromage, which he owns with his wife, Jennifer Greenlee.

Essentially, you start with animal milk, add rennet (an enzyme from animal or vegetable sources) to make the milk clump together and bacterial culture to add flavor.

Orzechowski said different bacteria create different types of cheese.

"We use different bacteria for Swiss cheese than we do for gouda cheese," Orzechowski said.

After the milk forms curds, the whey is drained away, Parker said. The cheese curds are placed in molds to shape them and left to age. The longer the cheese ages, the more flavorful it becomes.

He said cheese recipes differ from farm to farm in the same way apple pie recipes differ from family to family.

The best way to find out your favorite is to eat it and find out. And in the Tri-State region, there's plenty to choose from. Here are some places to try:

Caprikorn Farms, Gapland, Md.

Specializes in goat cheeses. Sales available by appointment only. Call 301-834-8030 or go to www.caprikornfarms.com.

Pipe Dreams Fromage, Greencastle, Pa.

Specializes in goat cheese and specializes in wholesale and restaurant sales. Call ahead, 717-597-1877.

Clear Spring Creamery, Clear Spring, Md.

Specializes in Camembert using grass-fed cows. Cheese is sold at City Farmers Market in Hagerstown. Go to www.clearspringcreamery.com.

Whispering Brook Cheese Haus, 8875 Edenville Cheesetown Road, west of Chambersburg, Pa.

Sells a variety of cow- and goat-milk cheeses. Cheese is sold on the farm from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Call 717-369-2355.

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