Even though I live in the Pacific Northwest, I have yet to get out to River’s Edge Chevre… my bad… but I have had the pleasure of tasting several of the wonderful cheeses that Pat and her daughters make. My monthly ACS Cheese Column for May 2015 profiles three of their cheeses: Cape Foulweather, Up in Smoke and Siltcoos. You can read my profiles on the ACS website by clicking here.
Pat amd Astraea graciously took time from their amazingly busy schedule to answer questions for my 2015 Q&A with Cheese Professionals:
Briefly tell me about yourself. How did you come to cheese? Did you attend school or grow-up in the dairy business?
Pat has had goats since she was about 8 years old (there were a few years in her teens and young adulthood when she didn’t have them) when her father traded a couple of rabbits for a couple of goats. In 1988 she moved to Logsden, Oregon and bought 12 acres and started Three Ring Farm. In 1993 she started collecting dairy equipment with the idea of starting her own cheese facility since she had been making cheese for her own use since the early 70’s. In 2001 Pat started to seriously look for funding and in June of 2002 the construction of Rivers Edge Chevre began. In August of 2005 the dairy was licensed and cheese making commenced! It all started because of a love for goats and the amazing milk they produce.
Describe a “typical” day making cheese and caring for your cheese until it leaves you. Would also love to hear about “kidding” season. (Can you include a picture of the kids… maybe in the house… love those.)
There are no “typical” days at a farmstead cheese facility. Every day the animals are milked (twice a day) everyone is fed and taken care of. And there is always stuff going on in the cheese room, from pasteurizing to turning cheese (everyday) to salting and ashing. But no two days are ever the same because we have about 200 goats (of all ages), about 40 sheep (of all ages), 3 jersey heifers, chickens, cats and dogs which adds enough chaos to keep everyone on their toes.
How do you “create” a new cheese? I’d like to understand both the creative and practical process.
Honestly we never set out to develop a new cheese. It just happens. We don’t have a process to it and for the most part we have been making all of our cheeses since we started or something similar.
Do you have a favorite cheese or type? What would be your perfect pairing with this cheese?
We love all cheese! We eat all types of cheese and if it is well made we enjoy it. As far as pairings go we don’t really have very many, we just eat cheese with stuff and either it works or it doesn’t. We do love grilled figs with our Up in Smoke. Actually Up in Smoke is amazing stuffed in chicken breast or on a glazed onion tart.
Raw vs. Pasteurized? Your thoughts, both philosophically and in practice. Does it matter? What difference does it make in the final product?
We make both and think both are fine. We don’t have strong feelings about it either way.
Should the US create a system similar the European scheme of protecting, controlling and/or regulating specific cheeses?
No, right now we have the freedom to make any type of milk into any type of cheese and we like it that way. It would limit creativity and cheesemakers ability to develop new cheeses.
Tell me about one of your “cheese journeys”. Was it traveling for pleasure or maybe “on the hunt” for an obscure cheese you just had to taste?
We are a farmstead cheese facility which means we have the animals here on the farm where the cheese is made and because of that we don’t have the time to go on “cheese journeys”. Pat went to Europe and spent 5 days in London and 17 days in France a couple of years ago. She was lucky enough to visit several small farmstead facilities and went to Roquefort and Rocamadour. She went to several open air markets that had cheese booths and tried cheese. No cheese journeys other than that. Farmstead cheese is 7 days a week, 365 days a year and to be honest we haven’t had a “day off” in years. We milk year round and don’t shut down.
Please share with me one fun, non-cheesy fact about you.
At this point cheese has permeated every inch of our lives and I can’t think of any non-cheese fact 🙂
If you could do one thing, anything, all day long, what would it be?
Ooooh! Absolutely nothing. A combination of napping and reading and nothingness. Can’t decide if napping in front of a nice crackling fire drinking tea or snoozing in a sun lounger on a sunny European beach with a sun umbrella over it and an “umbrella drink” sounds better.
Check out Pat’s bio here.
My thanks to Pat and Astraea for taking the time!!
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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