CREAM CHEESE!!!


Yes, Night Sky Farm produces 100% Jersey Cow Milk CREAM CHEESE and I am going to tell you how it’s done, here and now. First, you start with one of these and no facsimile will do.

Emily Cow giving a "Raspberry" to the camera.

This is our registered Jersey cow, Emily. She is 5 years old and giving us 3.5 gallons of milk each day. Emily is due to calf on February 1, 2011 and she will be dried off in the beginning of December 2010, so she can take a break and get herself ready for the next go ’round. Her diet consists of  16% dairy ration grain, alfalfa hay, orchard grass hay and pasture. She is outside except to come into the parlor for milking or during bad weather she is in her stall. She has never been sick or had mastitis and she is vaccinated every year for cow illnesses and tested for Tuberculosis and Brucellosis. She is a happy cow and knows her name, comes when called and backs out of the milking parlor when I ask. So, for CREAM CHEESE, we begin with fresh, clean Emily milk. All our milk for fresh cheese is required to be pasteurized before I can sell it and so it is for this milk. I have an extraordinarily  small pasteurization system and can only process 3.5 gallons of milk at a time. Each 3.5 gallon pot has it’s temperature recorded during the half hour pasteurization.

The Recorder - a necessity

After pasteurization, the heating of the milk to 145 degrees and holding it there for a half hour to ensure all nasty bacteria is killed,  the milk is cooled in a cold water bath to approximately 90 degrees. At that time a bacterial culture is added and acidifier, better known as rennet is also stirred in. In effect, you have killed everything, good and bad in the milk and reintroduced special bacteria that you want so the milk will transform into a particular type of cheese, be it chevre, cheddar or havarti. Akin to an artist and her canvas. CREAM CHEESE requires a long culturing process of 12 -15 hours and a just as long draining period. The cheese room has a special “closet” for draining cheese that can be shut off from the rest of the room to keep airborne bacteria and yeasts at a low level. You don’t want those in your cheese. After culturing, the curd is cut, placed into cloth draining bags and hung in the closet for 8 – 10 hours or until I feel the consistency is to my liking. The curd is removed form the cloth bags, worked and salted with natural sea salt. This CREAM CHEESE is not your everyday, run o’the mill cheese; it is not like Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese at all. It is Night Sky Farm CREAM CHEESE and it is light and fluffy, easy to spread and delicious to eat on a bagel, topping a pizza or in a cheesecake. All of which I have done.

Fresh CREAM CHEESE!

Our CREAM CHEESE is sold in 8 oz. vacuum sealed packages with a blue Night Sky Farm label. They are sold at our markets and on the farm for $6.50 each. Our website lists them for a bit more, but shipping is included. The cheese freezes well, so you can stock up for the holiday season. Try mixing up a dip with our CREAM CHEESE or a spread by adding your own unique touches to an already naturally sweet, creamy 100% Jersey Cow Milk cheese. Night Sky Farm can be found Saturday mornings in Charlottesville and in Richmond, at the Charlottesville City Market and at the St. Stephen’s Farmer’s Market. Our products can be purchased through Fall Line Farms, Relay Foods, Off The Vine Market, Sprout Market & Cafe and enjoyed at Isabella’s Trattoria.

Advertisements

FOR SALE ~ Reg. Alpine does, their 2010 kids, dry doelings, and a buck


2009 doelings

Must Sell. Reg. Alpine does (some in milk), their 2010 kids (does/bucks), a 2 yr old proven Alpine buck and a couple of dry doelings ready to breed. Grade La Manchas and possibly a reg. Saanen doeling by my Companeros Cascade buck. Send me and email or call for details. Older does can be bred to any of my bucks before leaving the farm. I am willing to transport animals within a 100 – 150 mile radius of the farm to make sure these animals get a good home. Send me an email or place a comment on the post and I will send you pics, ADGA numbers etc. They must move out  soon!

Ice Cream & Dragon’s Blood


Well, I have come to the conclusion that store bought ice cream is not at all like “MY” ice cream made with the cream off my Jersey cow’s milk! If folks tasted real ice cream they would never again buy ice cream from the grocery store because it is not the real deal. Today, I made Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Raspberry, Pecans and Chocolate; it is to DIE FOR!!! Of course the bowl I dished up was eaten too fast for me photograph and that says something right there. Here’s a pic of it in the making!

100% Jersey Cream Ice Cream!

Also, I have been soaping AGAIN. I don’t know, I just can’t get around it. My soap is moving out almost as fast as my cheese and my lotion has left the farm in total, forcing me to make more this weekend. The new bars I made recently are all olive oil with goat milk and the scents are Dragon’s Blood, Night Sky and Felicity. I used my new Medieval Animals mold for the Dragon’s Blood and made the bar with a deep red swirl knowing the Dragon’s Blood scent would turn the soap a dark brown, so the scent was not put into the red. The bars did emerge a deep red color with the dark brown and are absolutely decadent, though non-edible. The Night Sky also will turn the soap dark, so this bar was made the same way only I used a different mold and ultramarine oxide instead of the iron oxide. It is turning more slowly than the Dragon’s Blood, but I think it will be just as stunning. The Felicity again accelerated the chemical process and turned out looking like a natural rock resembling agate, a deep red and ochre rock. The scent is fabulous though unexpected for a rock appearing soap.

Dragon's Blood Medieval Animals Mold

And no you can’t eat the soap!

Night Sky
The Agate Soap - Felicity

My next post will be our Fall Event Schedule for 2010 with the first being a new WIne Festival at the reconstructed Cloverdale Village in Appomattox on 28 August, 2pm to 8pm. Night Sky Farm will also be vending at the Foxfield Races in held Charlottesville on the 26 September. An exciting day for me and Meika watching the steeplechase event and the cross country racing. Oh, the horses! So, look for the next post with more info, dates and times.

Peaches Are In – Our New Confetti Soap


Peach Nectar

This is our new Peach Nectar olive oil goat milk soap. It is divine with a creamy smooth lather due to the addition of Kaolin Clay and the scent is exquisite. I do think I have begun to master this confetti technique . It is so much fun for me and allows me to be truly expressive. These soaps will be presented at our farmer’s markets on Saturday. Please don’t forget to take a peek at the new soap dishes handcrafted by the potters of Buckrun Pottery in Foreman, AR.  They are very lovely dishes made using earth-tone glazes and readily enhance any decor. They come in oval, round and square forms with or without little feet, but all have raised areas in the center to keep the artisan soap out of the moisture which will cause the bar to disintegrate over time. You can purchase the soap dish alone or with a bar of PATTI CAKES! Goat MIlk Soap. A perfect gift for under $20!

During the months of October and November Night Sky Farm with the help of Buckrun Pottery will be creating a soap and soap dish gift set with a horsey theme and a portion of each sale is to be donated to Brook Hill Farm of Forest, VA. The folks at Brook Hill Farm, mainly two extraordinary women who conceived the concept and have taken on the job of rescuing, rehabilitating and sometimes retraining, highly advanced horses who for one reason or another need a new direction or purpose. Many hundreds of horses have passed through the gates of Brook Hill Farm on their way to permanent homes with young and older riders alike.  The farm exists solely on donations from caring individuals and Night Sky Farm wants to help them out in our small way by selling these unique soap gift sets. You will be able to order them with an email to either Brook Hill Farm, Night Sky Farm, my website: http://www.nightskyfarmgoatcheese.com or you can telephone me. I will keep reminding everyone as the time to debut the soap and soap dishes gets nearer. In the meantime, please visit Brook Hill Farm’s website to get a visual idea of what Jo Ann and Tracy do there for these horses, the children and adults that assist by being volunteers on the farm or as members of the United Neigh Program, an educational program for children and young adults centered around these noble and deserving animals. This is really fun trying to pick out a creative and elegant horsey soap mold. I have found a few and will post them, perhaps with a poll!

More news ~ Cheese To You in Lexington, VA will now be distributing Night Sky Farm cheeses through their market and other connections! Meg Hall is the owner of the business and she handles the marketing of over 32 different cheeses now including mine. Her website is not yet completed, but you can find her on Facebook, so please be her fan!

Night Sky Farm will be present 28 August in Appomattox at the historic Cloverdale Village for a fabulous WINE TASTING and Cheese Tasting too. The event is 2 pm to 8pm Sunday afternoon. It should prove to be a festive time. For more info call 434-665-3981 Come out and support our local wineries and of course your local cheese-maker. 🙂

A Farmer Has To Wear Many Hats!


AquaStar Instant-On Hot Water Heater

The Germans can make ’em, but Virginians can’t fix ’em when they break. It takes a Vermonter to that!
I am not sure I like all these hats a farmer has to wear. Of course, none of this is good when it occurs when the dairy inspector shows up for his sample. He was not too pleased with the fact the hot water was not working well, but he was satisfied with a “We’re working on it” response which was entirely true. Today, I learned how to take apart and clean the water valve on this hot water heater. Found hair bound up on the piston which regulates when the burner kicks in to heat the water. The piston is triggered by water flow and that was what was causing all the trouble. Now, it works once more! It’ll BURN ya! The funny thing is, I moved out of the State of Ingenuity to a State of Ambiguity. Up north, I could have found 10 people within yelling distance who could help me with this one and down here there is absolutely No One who knows ANYTHING about tankless hot water heaters! On the other hand, there are some instances where folks up north would not have dropped anything they were doing to help you like move heavy round bales with the big JD and neighbors down here will be right there in your dooryard to assist. As such, I have had to learn on my own the ins and outs of this species of hot water heater. Frankly, the water heater is very straightforward in it’s construction and operation. So, some time spent and some money saved this afternoon. Alas, no soaping today, that has now been rescheduled for tomorrow; first thing!