Monday, July 26, 2010

Rebel with a good cause

What better cause than bringing great cheese to our fair city? Okay, there *are* better causes like, say, curing disease, but you get the idea.

If you read the blog and/or follow The Bloomy Rind on FB and Twitter, you know it's been a bit of a struggle being able to sell cheese of late. Obviously, the long term solution is a storefront. And I'm working on that. If you happen to know of a good space coming available, please feel free to email me at kathleen(at)thebloomyrind(dot)com. What's a 'good' space you ask? Small-ish, good visibility to passersby (is that a word?), parking, proximity to a wine shop is a bonus, affordable rent, etc.

But short term, what's a cheese maven to do? Glad you asked...

I'm working with one CSA to make my cheeses available to their members and talking with 2 CSAs. If you belong to a CSA and would like TBR cheese to be available at your pickup, please let me know or, better yet, suggest The Bloomy Rind to your CSA manager.

Several friends have suggested hosting cheese parties. If you'd like to gather a crew of cheese-loving friends and perhaps some wine, I'm more than happy to bring a selection of cheese to you!

As a super short term soluntion, the cheese stand is going mobile! (This is where said rebellion comes into play as I imagine codes wouldn't be too keen on this option.) This Wednesday I'll be set up at 602 Russell St in East Nashville, from 5-7pm. My dear pals who reside there have offered up the front porch of their centrally located home to The Bloomy Rind. Everyone is welcome to come by and, of course, by some cheese. We might even be sharing some refreshing adult beverages. :)

Thanks to everyone who is hanging in there with me! I really want to build something fabulous for our community and our bellies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pondering local

I've had localism on my brain a bit more than usual of late. This is mainly because I was told this week that The Bloomy Rind could not be a vendor at the East and West Nashville Farmers' Markets because 1) I'm not a producer and 2) many of my products come from more than 150 miles away.

For those who don't know me, I would like to preface the rest of this post by saying that I'm an outspoken advocate for buying locally. I hardly set foot in a grocery store during the growing season in Tennessee. I will always choose a local restaurant over a chain. I've pushed friends and family who aren't local-oriented to choose local goods. I helped organize a new fund to benefit local farmers. And The Bloomy Rind purposely doesn't offer cheeses in styles you can get locally so as not to compete with them, but rather to offer a more complete selection. I say all this to make sure that you know I am in no way questioning the merits of localism. I suppose I'm questioning some interpretations of local - and where the boundaries lie.

So back to my being turned down by the market...
This would be fine if it weren't for the exceptions made for other vendors. Specifically a local company that blends teas - teas that are grown as far away as India. And local coffee roasters - again roasting coffee beans grown in other countries. So the blending or roasting of a product makes it local? If I alter the cheese, does that make it local? Maybe grilled cheeses, would they be local, even if the cheese came from Vermont? What if I grated it, would it then be local, even if the cheese came from Oregon?

What about the good folks who sell baked goods at these markets? I know some bakers use as many local ingredients as possible. But I'm pretty certain many do not. What about that yummy fresh-squeezed lemonade? Don't see too many lemon trees in the great state of Tennessee. I could go on, but you get the point.

Here's the thing, I'm not opposed to the bakers and coffee roasters being at the market. In fact, just the opposite. When you buy these products you are supporting local, small businesses. I love that! In fact, I would go a step farther to say markets are an invaluable resource to startup businesses who aren't yet in a position to have bricks and mortar. These (We) are folks trying to build something in an economic sh*tstorm - and just need a way to reach the public.

Just for fun, let's also take a look at this from a completely different angle. What if you were a dairy farmer/cheesemaker making fantastic, all natural cheeses who happens to live more than 150 miles from a major city? Who would you sell to? Could you make a living selling only to those within a 150 mile radius? It would probably be tough.

I imagine some folks would point out that there are local cheesemakers here. And I would respond, "heck yeah, there are, and you should buy from them!" Two of my faves are Bonnie Blue and Noble Springs. In fact, when NS started up last year, I told anyone who would listen about them. I have visited both farms. They are good folks making dang good cheese! But what happens when you want something other than what they offer? Do you get yourself some industrial cheese from one of the big groceries? Maybe you get some imported cheese from overseas? I propose that there's a middle ground.

If only there was someone offering a selection of American artisan cheeses. Someone who was passionate and knowledgeable about cheese. Someone who sought out the tastiest, hand-crafted cheese available from conscientious farmers and cheesemakers. Hmmm...

Choosing locally, sustainably grown produce is a no brainer. We, the buyers, get the freshest, best tasting produce. We support the local economy and, more specifically, nearby farmers who grow using sustainable methods. And there's less impact on the environment when produce doesn't have to travel so far.

But sometimes we want or need things that aren't grown or made locally. Lemons. Limes. Salt. Avocados. Rice. Coffee. Pineapples. Flour. Baking soda. Butter (there's a little made here but not enough to go around). Cashews. Tea. Cava. Barely Buzzed. Bayley Hazen Blue. Green Hill. Brebis.

What do you guys think? Where do the boundaries of local lie? Where *should* they lie? What types of vendors do you want to see at your markets?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tasting #4, new goodies, and the short list


Greetings,

We have one tasting left in the cheese and wine series. It'll be a great one! (Translation: I had a theme planned but will be switching it up due to some availability issues with the cheeses I wanted to serve. Fear note, cheese lovers. I'm working up a tasty Plan B for ya!)
Wednesday, July 21st
Tayst Restaurant. 5-6:30pm. $20.
Please feel free to join us any time between 5:00 and 6:30, we're keeping these pretty casual. And definitely check out Tayst's dinner menu after the tasting - the best fresh, local fare around.

*******

New this week at the market cheese stand...
Creminelli Fine Meats Wild Boar Salami & Salami Cacciatore
Outstanding all natural cured pork goodness!

*******

And here you go, your cheeses for the week...

Tumbleweed
(5 Spoke Creamery, PA)
The bold and the beautiful. Big flavor with some sharpness. Good melter for burgers and sammies.

Brebis (Blackberry Farm, TN)
Fresh sheeps milk cheese. Simply heavenly. Lovely with fresh fruit.


Fresh Mozzarella (AltantaFresh Artisan Creamery, GA)
Fresh milky goodness just begging to be paired with tomatoes and fresh basil!

Stackhouse (Spinning Spider Creamery, NC)
This goat cheese charmer is made in a cube shape! There's a vegetable ash line through the middle plus a dusting of ash on the outside before it develops its delicate bloomy rind. Perfect with a glass of bubbly!

Crossroads Blue (Sweetgrass Dairy, GA)
Fairly hearty blue with a bit of funkiness from the goats milk in this goat/cow blend. For folks who had some of the Kelle's Blue (all goat), this is its slightly more chilled out cousin.


Blackberry Blue (Blackberry Farm, TN)
A lovely sheeps milk blue from the well known and much loved Blackberry Farm. Delicate, airy texture. Medium blueness. Just a bit tangy.

Grayson (Meadow Creek Dairy, VA)
Similar to a Taleggio. Rich, beefy, pungent.

Aggiano Parmesan
(Beehive Cheese Co, UT)
Beehive is making a domestic version of a parm based on a recipe from nearby Utah State (whose mascot is the Aggi, thus the name). Really nice nutty flavor with a note of pineapple. This batch is even tastier than the last!

Butterbound (Beehive Cheese Co, UT)
Butter Bound, Beehive's newest creation, is clothbound and coated in butter. Butter! Texture of a hard aged cheese. Flavor has a pop of citrus to it.

Green Hill (Sweet Grass Dairy, GA)
A camembert style cheese that's buttery, creamy and lucious.

Farmhouse (Yellow Moon Cheese Co, AL)
Aged approx 13 months, Farmhouse has a bright, tangy flavor, sometimes with a little nuttiness. Nice crumbly texture makes it perfect to top salads or some grilled veggies.

Wanda (Yellow Moon Cheese Co, AL)
The younger, slightly tangier cousin of Farmhouse, Wanda is aged about 6 months. Rich, creamy mouthfeel. Dense, firm texture.

Landaff (Landaff Creamery, NH + The Cellars at Jasper Hill, VT)
Made in the style of the Welsh classic Caerphilly. Semi-firm texture. A bright, slightly tangy flavor. Cave-aged, natural rind. Melts well.


Seahive
(Beahive Cheese Co, UT)
Seahive's rind is rubbed with sea salt and honey local to the cheesemaker. A mild yet flavorful cheese. A crowd fave.

Barely Buzzed (Beahive Cheese Co, UT)
Barely Buzzed is rubbed with coffee, yes coffee, and lavender - unexpected combo that works famously.



As always, please feel free to email me if you have any questions or special requests: kathleen(at)thebloomyrind(dot)com

Hope to see ya soon!

Cheers,
Kathleen

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tastings, a new market, and the short list

Greetings,

Our tasting series has gotten off to a great start! Thanks to everyone who has been able to join the cheesy festivities. I'm very excited about the next two tastings... American Farmstead on July 14th and The Cellars at Jasper Hill on July 21st.

Week 3: American Farmstead (Wed, July 14th)
In the past 5-10 years there has been a explosion of domestic artisan cheesemaking. For those who have been enjoying The Bloomy Rind's offerings, you may have picked up on the fact that I am pretty darn passionate about this movement. Within the category of artisan cheeses, we use the term farmstead to identify cheeses that are made on the very same farm where the critters roam in the pasture and the milk is produced. Farmstead cheeses tend to be small batch, hand crafted unique creations, and we're excited to present four of 'em to you!

Tayst Restaurant. 5-6:30pm. $20 per happy hour.
Please feel free to join us any time between 5:00 and 6:30, we're keeping these pretty casual. And definitely check out Tayst's dinner menu after the tasting - the best fresh, local fare around.

*******


And here's the short list of cheese for the week...


Stackhouse (Spinning Spider Creamery, NC)
This goat cheese charmer is made in a cube shape! There's a vegetable ash line through the middle plus a dusting of ash on the outside before it develops its delicate bloomy rind. Perfect with a glass of bubbly!

Bayley Hazen Blue (Jasper Hill Farm, VT)
Rockin' blue. Creamy texture. Good salt. Delicious on its own or topping a burger or salad.

Crossroads Blue (Sweetgrass Dairy, GA)
Fairly hearty blue with a bit of funkiness from the goats milk in this goat/cow blend. For folks who had some of the Kelle's Blue (all goat), this is its slightly more chilled out cousin.


Blackberry Blue (Blackberry Farm, TN)
A lovely sheeps milk blue from the well known and much loved Blackberry Farm. Delicate, airy texture. Medium blueness.

Aggiano Parmesan (Beehive Cheese Co, UT)
Beehive is making a domestic version of a parm based on a recipe from nearby Utah State (whose mascot is the Aggi, thus the name). Really nice nutty flavor with a note of pineapple. This batch is even tastier than the last!

Butterbound (Beehive Cheese Co, UT)
Butter Bound, Beehive's newest creation, is clothbound and coated in butter. Butter! Texture of a hard aged cheese. Flavor has a pop of citrus to it.

Green Hill (Sweet Grass Dairy, GA)
A camembert style cheese that's buttery, creamy and lucious. The batch I have on hand is at that perfect ripeness stage where it starts to get a gooey.

Farmhouse (Yellow Moon Cheese Co, AL)
Aged approx 13 months, Farmhouse has a bright, tangy flavor, sometimes with a little nuttiness. Nice crumbly texture makes it perfect to top salads or some grilled veggies.

Wanda (Yellow Moon Cheese Co, AL)
The younger, slightly tangier cousin of Farmhouse, Wanda is aged about 6 months. Rich, creamy mouthfeel. Dense, firm texture.

Carolina Moon (Chapel Hill Creamery, NC)
Another fabulous creamy, buttery Camembert style cheese from the same cheesemaker as the New Moon. We served up Carolina Moon at Wednesday's cheese tasting, and it was much loved! (photo at the beginning of the post)

Landaff (Landaff Creamery, NH + The Cellars at Jasper Hill, VT)
Made in the style of the Welsh classic Caerphilly. Semi-firm texture. A bright, slightly tangy flavor. Cave-aged, natural rind. Melts well.


Dunbarton Blue (Roelli Cheese Co, WI)
A little bit country, a little bit rock n roll. Natural rinded cheddar that is also a blue. Love it with some sourwood honey.

Seahive (Beahive Cheese Co, UT)
Seahive's rind is rubbed with sea salt and honey local to the cheesemaker. A mild yet flavorful cheese. A crowd fave.

Barely Buzzed (Beahive Cheese Co, UT)
Barely Buzzed is rubbed with coffee, yes coffee, and lavender - unexpected combo that works famously.

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (Cabot Creamery + The Cellars at Jasper Hill, VT)
Made in the style of a traditional English bandaged cheddar. Caramely, crystaly, with a hint of earthiness.

Fresh Mozzarella (AltantaFresh Artisan Creamery, GA)
Fresh milky goodness just begging to be paired with tomatoes and fresh basil! (Sad update on the mozz front... AtlantaFresh is pretty much at capacity with orders from folks who've been customers longer than TBR, so what I have on hand this week may be it for a while. I will be sure to post whenever I get more. And I'll be on the search for other sources.)


Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or special requests: kathleen(at)thebloomyrind(dot)com

Hope to see ya soon!

Cheers,
Kathleen