After an amazing day with Friend and fellow ACS CCP™, Allin Tallmadge, touring many of the cheese and food destinations in and around Atlanta, I drove southwest to Chattahoochee Hill Country and Many Fold Farm.
It was raining, sometimes heavy, on the drive, when I arrived and throughout the visit. Yet I was greeted by Connie, the Many Fold Wonder Dog with whom I played several rounds of fetch.
Tim Gaddis, another ACS CCP™ is General Manager at the farm and shared the history of the area and the farm, while we tasted a few of their cheeses.
Ross and Rebecca Williams own the farm and rely on the help of interns, volunteers and farm employees to produce farmstead cheeses, grass-fed lamb, whey-fed pork and eggs from their free-range chickens.
The animals are rotated through the fields every 36-48 hours where they graze worry-free in the rolling hills that run along the Chatahoochee River about fifty miles south of Atlanta and light-years away from the urban madness. Life slows down on the farm and everyone is working hard and enjoying every minute of it. The 50 acres of pasture are seeded every spring with the help of volunteers who also show-up to help with lambing and general farm duties. I wish I had time to intern with them and learn more through “hands-on” experience. If you live in the Atlanta area and have time to give; the rewards will more than outweigh what you give. Call Tim at the farm and he’ll gladly find a place for you or arrange a visit.
The farm has four caves used to age and cool down the cheeses as they become award-winning beauties.
The herd is made-up of East Friesian and Lacaune with a little Katahdin added for heartiness and heat tolerance. As with any farm in the hot and humid south, parasites can be a worry but the fast rotation schedule prevents eating down to the ground where the parasites live. Treatment is used if and when needed. A huge umbrella shades the animals as they graze and this one addition to the farm resulted in an increase of milk yield during those hot July and August months (one of the major reasons I don’t live in the south…)
Many Fold has been selected to attend the 2015 Bra Cheese Festival and represent American Artisan Cheeses at
the US Pavillion. Tim has been selected as a judge at the upcoming East Coast Cheesemongers Invitational… those of you competing… use this tidbit as you see fit…
Because it is early in the lactating season, the cheeses available to taste were Condor’s Ruin, Garretts Ferry and the fresh Brebis. We sat in the farm store located just outside the make room where pyramids of Condor’s Ruin were being ashed to begin their aging process.
Garretts Ferry, named after a local ferry that crossed the Chattahoochee back in the 19th Century, is a Camembert-style round similar in looks to French Crottins. A small amount of Geotrichum is mixed with Penicillium Candidum to create the bloomy surface of this lactic-set cheese. When I smelled the cheese, I caught a whiff of cinnamon maybe from one of the many grasses or herbs growing in the pastures. Because it is left in the drying room longer than Condor’s Ruin, it is a little chalkier with a mild, sour tang. I had a second taste and fell in love with its sheepiness.
Condor’s Ruin (also named after a local landmark), made with the same milk and in the same method as Garretts Ferry, is shaped in the style of the French Valencay and dusted with ash. It is left in the drying room for a shorter period of time than Garretts Ferry which creates a creamier cheese. It began with a pleasant bitterness, followed by a luscious buttery flavor and ended with a tartness. The one we tasted was young (early in the cheese-producing season). The creamline will increase with time and the tartness should become more pronounced.
We ended our tasting with the fresh Brebis which is made of the leftover curd sitting at the bottom of the vat. This is a wonderful alternative at breakfast to cream cheese. I bought a vat and plan to use it this week in a cheesecake I’m making for my parents.
Unavailable for tasting (sigh) were Riverton, exclusively available through Gourmet Foods International and Peekville Tomme, which is aged 8 to 10 months and is reminiscent of the French tommes.
Tim shared that a few cows may be added in the fall to create a mixed milk Riverton that would be available year-round.
After the tasting, we walked out to the milking parlor, with Connie at our side begging to play more catch… which I happily obliged. Then we rode out to the fields to see the rams, the ewes, the hogs and the chickens. You can buy their eggs at the local farmers’ market for $8.00 a dozen.
All of their cheeses, except Riverton, are available through the website and select outlets including Chicago’s Pastoral Artisan Cheese.
My thanks to Tim and Ross for their hospitality and another special thanks to Allin for giving up two days to show me the Atlanta Food and Cheese Scene.
Tomorrow, I will run in its entirety, my 2015 Q&A with Tim Gaddis. You can view his Bio here.
My thanks to everyone participating in my 2015 Virtual Q&A with Cheese Professionals. I hope all of you, my loyal readers, are enjoying this as much as I am…
Interviews will continue throughout 2015… sometimes, they will be “stand-alone” and sometimes they will be presented as round-table discussions with several Cheese Professionals answering the same question. Those participating includeCheesemakers, ACS CCPs™, Cheesemongers and Cheese Professionals and Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.
List of 2015 Cheese Professionals.
List of all Cheese Professionals Bios.
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