In May, during her 2010 Wisconsin Cheese Tour, The Lady met Gerald (Jerry) Heimerl from Saxon Homestead Cheese. He graciously attended the Madison Trade Show and introduced the group to his line of farmstead cheeses. Jerry is one of the cheesemakers, a super salesman and all-around great guy. This is someone you would want to hang around on the weekend.
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan near Hika Bay, Saxon’s cows graze on a salad bar mix of greens in season and savor frozen grass hidden in the winter snow. The Klessig clan (Jerry’s in-laws own the land and encouraged their children to follow their dairy and cheese bliss) feel that sustainable is not enough and are moving forward with “life-enhancing” agriculture practices.
Big Ed’s (named after Jerry’s father-in-law) is a Gouda-style cheese with Alpine hints. It is aged four months and has a clean, natural rind imprinted with a cool Saxon logo. The cheese is mild and buttery and melts on the palate. A great snacking and cooking cheese. This cheese is a great cheese for kids who are sometimes shy about trying new foods. But, don’t let that bother you, cheese hounds will love this cheese also.
Saxony is an Alpine-style cheese that reminded The Lady of one of her favorite cheeses, Gruyere. This complex cheese is nutty with that delightful Alpine bite. It is aged for a minimum of ninety days and hits its stride at about five months. This cheese is a perfect cooking cheese – try it in fondue; try it on a grilled cheese and it will add a new dimension to your favorite mac n cheese recipe.
Pastures is a raw milk, bandaged cheese that is aged at least four months. It is young with a full flavor that is sweet and nutty and lingers long after you have eaten your last bite. Again, this is a cheese that is great on the table and in the kitchen.
Green Fields is a monastery-style cheese with a washed-rind. This semi-soft cheese has a nutty flavor that changes subtly as the seasons change and the terroir shines through. This cheese melts well and would make a mean grilled cheese.
LaClare Farm Evalon was the last cheese Jerry served. Saxon Creamery teamed with LaClare Farms to make this raw goat milk cheese that is aged more than seventy days. A wonderful melting semi-soft cheese, with a bit of a goaty finish… as it should… it is made using fresh, clean goat milk from healthy does fed on whole grains.
On their website, Saxon Homestead has many excellent serving suggestions and drink pairings for each of their cheeses.