Thursday, November 20, 2014

Easy, cheesy, beautiful...Thanksgiving cheese plates!

What could be easier? 

It's a Thanksgiving cheese plate - in a bag! Let us pick out a lovely selection of three, four, or five cheeses plus accompaniments for your holiday cheese platter. You’ll receive ¼ - ½ pound wedges of each cheese in a mix of styles and textures plus preserves and Marcona almonds. All you need is a serving platter and a knife!

TO ORDER, simply reply to this email
with the following info:

Choose one:
[   ]     3 cheeses + preserves and Marconas ($29)
          Total approx 12 oz of cheese, serves 5-7

[   ]     4 cheeses + preserves and Marconas ($42)
          Total approx 20 oz of cheese, serves 8-12

[   ]     5 cheeses + preserves and Marconas ($55)
          Total approx 28 oz of cheese, serves 14-16

We have crackers, breads, and charcuterie available at both locations as well!

Name:  ___________________________________

Phone:  ___________________________________

Email: _____________________________________

Pickup date:
[  ] Mon, 11/24      [  ] Tue, 11/25      [  ] Wed, 11/26
[  ]  Other (please specify) _______________

Pickup location:
[  ]  EAST
[  ]  WEST
TO ORDER, simply email kathleenATthebloomyrindDOTcom
with the above info or call the shop at 615-429-9648.
Please place orders by Monday at noon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Go West, young* woman!

Hey Westies, the boys of Porter Road Butcher and I have nailed down a plan to offer some Bloomy Rind cheese in their new Charlotte Pike location. It will be different from the East Nashville locale, though, as the new shop has a different layout that doesn't accommodate a cut-to-order cheese counter.

The plan is to have a smaller, carefully chosen selection of pre-cut cheeses *plus* the ability to order special offerings each week. We're still working on the special ordering plan, so stay tuned.

Starting early this week, pre-cut pieces will be all ready for you in the reach market cooler. We'll also have some crackers and jams available to go with them. We may have some "cheese plates in a bag" ready to go as well.

Porter Road Butcher - West
4816 Charlotte Pk 37209 (across from Richland Park)
Soft opening hours: Mon - Fri, 12-6pm

For those of you in the Green Hills area, I will continue to offer cheeses weekly through Fresh Harvest CSA in case either of the other two locations isn't convenient.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring cheese n' such

Spring has (nearly) sprung!
Even before I got into cheese, Spring was my favorite of the seasons. Aaaah, all fresh and crisp and green, not to mention it's the season of strawberries and asparagus. Now that my world revolves around curds n' whey, I'm even happier this time of year as the dairy barns fill up with baby farm animals, the gals start a milkin', and we get a rush of cheeses we only see in the warmer months.

Just this week, Sequatchie Cove Creamery's Dancing Fern, their soft, Reblochon style wonder, arrived. It's been a long winter without it! But I s'pose absence makes the heart grow fonder? Although, my heart (and tastebuds) were already pretty fond. Fun tidbit: this year's Nashville Lifestyles Savor chef challenge event will feature Dancing Fern. I cannot wait to see what all those creative chefs come up with.

Brand new to the case are some soft, sheep milk bloomies from Many Fold Farm in Georgia. Only in their second season of cheesemaking, Rebecca and Ross Williams are crafting some lovely cheeses. They attended last year's Southern Artisan Cheese Festival, so some of you may have had a peak at their cheese, but this year they are increasing production, so we should have it pretty regularly. You may have noticed, the South lacks for sheep dairies a bit, so we're so lucky to have 'em. And speaking of sheep dairies, have you tried Pyranees, an aged cheese from Good Shepherd Cheese in Kentucky, another 'maker new to the scene. Go Southern (sheep) cheese!

One more newbie is arriving this week: Baetje Farms, a goat dairy in Missouri. These folks have been racking up awards left and right. I first tried their cheese at last year's American Cheese Society conference, but, by the time I tried to order some last winter, they had already stopped milking for the season. (Didyaknow?... Dairy animals have to give birth each year to produce milk. It's best to let the gals rest a bit, then get preggers. Once they pop out their offspring - sometimes twins or triplets or even quads! - then they can be milked again. Some dairies have the whole herd go through this process at once, giving the farmers a chance to catch their breath as well but stopping cheese production. Other dairies keep the girls on staggered cycles so they always have milk to make cheese.)

Swing by for a taste - or pick up a Spring cheese sampler for Easter. Happy Spring, my friends!

Team Bloomy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holiday cheese orders

Holiday Cheese Plate To Go! 

Let us pick out a lovely selection of three, four, or five cheeses plus accompaniments for your holiday cheese platter. You’ll receive ¼ - ½ pound wedges of each cheese in a mix of styles and textures plus preserves and Marcona almonds. All you need is a serving platter and a knife!

These also make a great hostess gift if you're headed to someone's house for Thanksgiving as your hosts can serve 'em up then or save them for later.

You can stop by the shop or send us an email ( to place your order. 48 hours in advance is recommended as the next 2 weeks are likely to be pretty dang busy.

Choose one:

[ ]  3 cheeses + preserves and Marconas ($26)
      Total approx 12 oz of cheese, serves 5-7 people

[ ]  4 cheeses + preserves and Marconas ($38)
      Total approx 20 oz of cheese, serves 8-12 ppl

[ ]  5 cheeses + preserves and Marconas ($50)
      Total approx 28 oz of cheese, serves 14-16 ppl

[ ]   Somethin’ extra schmancy… ($60)
      1/3 lb Rogue River Blue, Round of Rush Creek Reserve, and 1/3 lb 10 Year Aged Sharp Cheddar
      + Jar of Bathtub Gin or Emily G's preserves and Marcona almonds

Add ons:
[ ]   Stick of Olli Salami ($11 ea)
[ ]   Box of Accidental Baker Crackers ($5.99 ea)
[ ]   Provence baguette ($2.50 ea)

Name: __________________________________________

Phone: __________________________________________

Email: ___________________________________________

Pickup date:


Friday, June 8, 2012

Why the heck does the good stuff cost more?

Last week I kicked off what I envision as a series of posts on food system issues. This topic is near and dear to my heart both personally and professionally at the ‘Rind. I touched on some of the key criteria for choosing cheeses and highlighted one in particular: pasturing of the animals.

Pasturing plays a large role in this week’s topic: why the heck does the good stuff cost more?

This will probably be a two-parter with today’s chat centered on the cost of production done the right way and next week’s post shedding some light on the behind-the-scenes, often politically driven, elements that drive cost for artisanal producers versus industrial producers.

As I mentioned, pasturing plays a big part in this conversation. It simply takes more land, time, and labor to pasture the animals instead of keeping them in an icky, sad feedlot. The farmer has to move the herd around and pay attention to what’s growing in the pasture, the condition of the pasture, giving the grazed pasture time to recover, etc. More labor, more time, and more land all add up to higher costs.

The cheeses I carry are made by hand - by real live people - instead of in giant factories. There is, of course, some equipment, like a vat and a somewhat mechanized cheese press (used for draining off whey from wheels of cheese before they go into the aging cave), but most of the incredibly labor-intensive process is done by hand. Again, time and labor.

What equipment there is, plus the build out of a licensed dairy, is tremendously expensive. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars – or more. With so many cheesemakers in the US starting up in the last 5-10 years, in most cases, they started from scratch.

And add to that equation the aging of cheese. Imagine for a moment all the hard work you’ve done at your job this week. Now imagine that you wouldn’t receive a paycheck for 6 or 12 or 24 months for that work. (Would you even keep a job like that?) That’s exactly what happens when a cheesemaker ages a cheese…they don’t get paid for it until they sell it. Meanwhile, they still have to pay their farmhands, make loan payments, hopefully pay themselves something to live on, etc. It’s a wonder we have any cheesemakers at all!

While this piece focuses on cheese, some of the same factors, like pasturing, affect the cost of meat. One of the big differences in artisanal versus industrial meat production is the cost of processing. Small farms pay a whole lot more to get their meat processed than industrial producers, who often own the processing facility and do so much volume, it keeps that cost down significantly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

These hooves were made for walkin'...

Funny thing. I decided I wanted to write a newsletter about sustainable food systems (versus big, creepy, chemical-filled, over processed industrial agriculture.) It's at the core of why and how I do what I do with The Bloomy Rind.

But guess what? It's a friggin' huge topic. Huge, as in books and documentaries and graduate degrees. (Oh my!) And then there’s the fact that I'm not exactly an expert. I'm passionate and always learning and probably paying more attention than the average citizen, but I am definitely not an expert.

Yet I still want to shout what I’ve learned from the mountaintops. Or maybe just chat about it over the countertops in, say, a meat n’ cheese shop? Either way, it’s too important not to.

I may be in a little over my head, but if you’ll indulge me, and if you’ll hopefully participate as you’re inspired to do so, I think we should dig into this wonderland of a topic: our food system.

Without further adieu, I’ll start close to home…what goes in The Bloomy Rind cheese case?

There are two essential criteria in my selection: how the animals are raised and how the cheese is made. In addition, I consider where the cheese is made, having a good mix of styles, and, of course, the cheese has to be tasty.

Let’s start with how the animals are raised which has an impact both on the quality the cheese and on our food system in general. I’ll probably expand on this later, so for now, I will boil it down to this: I look for farmers and cheesemakers who pasture their animals as much as possible and do not give them synthetic growth hormones. [Normally, when I'm discussing sustainably raised farm animals, I would add to that list farmers who do not administer sub-therapeutic (so called "preventative") antibiotics. With cheese, this isn't really an issue because they can't make cheese with antibiotic-laced milk as the antibiotics would kill the cultures essential to cheesemaking.]

Pasturing is what nature intended for these creatures, and it produces the best milk which, in turn, makes the best cheese. 

It’s also best for the environment as the animals’ waste is distributed around the pasture in amounts the soil can absorb and be fertilized by. In the confinement feed lot setting of industrial agriculture, the waste is too concentrated and actually toxifies the soil and water. Can you say feedlot runoff? Ewww.

Grass-based dairy is also better for us, the cheese lovers. There are studies being done comparing the fats in grass-based versus corn-based dairy (and meat and eggs). The fats are different. And, surprise surprise, grass-based animal products are way better for us. (Or, if you need a little dairy pun, whey better!)

Then there’s just the peace of mind knowing the least we can do for animals that produce our food is to treat them well. Making them live in cramped quarters, on cement or in mud (and, let’s be frank, up to their "knees" in cow shit), with no access to pasture, is pretty terrible, eh?

Pasturing animals is incredibly complex and labor intensive (part of why the good stuff costs more, but we’ll dig into that later). There are such dynamics as pasture management, rotating the herd, seasonality (snow, droughts, etc) and more at play – which is why I focus whether the animals are pastured as much as possible.

I’m simplifying all this for a few reasons. One, as I mentioned, I do not claim to be an expert so I couldn’t tell you everything there is to know even if I wanted to. Two, if you’re anything like me, your attention span has limits - and if I still have your attention at this point, I probably need to wrap it up so you might come back in the future. Three, if this is new information for you, I think it’s helpful to digest it in bits.

On the other hand, if you're ready for more, here you go:

[Please let me know your feedback and questions in the comments section below. Is this info helpful? What questions do you have when it comes to choosing your food source?]

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happenings at the shop + Valentine's Day goodies

Bathtub Gin new jam flavors

The ladies of Bathtub Gin will be in the shop Saturday to sample their latest creations. They have worked up three marmalades for you citrus lovers...

London Pink Gin
This British style orange marmalade with rosemary and cloves. Great with Camembert. It's named for the fashionable UK cocktail, pink gin, created by the Royal Navy, a combination of gin and bitters that works perfectly in this rich, orange treat.

French 75
A lemon marmalade with a delicious citrus pucker that is mixed with Champagne for an effervescent twist.

Manhattan Red
A three fruit marmalade combined with the popular turn of the century Manhattan cocktail and garnished with a splash of tart red cherry juice.
Stop by for a taste!
Saturday, Feb 10th
10am - 1pm

Save the date: Feb. 23rd
Camembert + wine tasting

When you see a bunch of those little white rinded Camembert gems lined up in a row, how do you know which one to choose? Although they look a lot alike, you can experience a wide variety of flavors and textures from one to another. Next Thursday evening, February 23rd, we'll have a number of them out for you to do a little comparing and contrasting. As a bonus, Will Motley from Woodland Wine Merchant will pair up some delicious wines. Stay tuned for times and any other details we may have for you.

Gifts for your sweetie

Next week brings the mother lode of Hallmark holidays. Don't get stuck giving one of those sad ol' boxes of drugstore chocolates when there's so much goodness to be had at the 'Rind. If your sweetie is a cheese lover, we've got you covered...

Order up an artisan cheese plate for two
Bathtub Gin sampler pack (3 yummy flavors and a spreader)
Olive and Sinclair chocolate bars
A copy (and subscription to Culture Magazine)
A Bloomy Rind gift certificate