Our farm was mentioned in the December 9, 2014 edition of The News & Record, December 9, 2014 on FOX8, and December 15, 2014 The Winston-Salem Journal
Hit the Cheese Trail
By Jennifer Fernandez
− Cheese lovers rejoice. Just like wine lovers, you now can travel a
statewide trail to sample new and favorite varieties made in North
There even is a map online to help you chart your
course to farms making farmstead and artisan cheeses from cow, goat or
About 40 small farmers make and sell cheese across
the state, including 11 that make up the N.C. Cheese Trail, which
formed in April.
The trail stretches from as far east as Goldsboro to one farm that is west of Asheville. Several are in the Piedmont Triad.
trail features novice cheese-makers, such as Fabian Lujan of
Greensboro’s Piemonte Farm, who started last year, and veterans, such
as Gibsonville’s Calico Farmstead Cheese, which started with one kind
of cheese in 2005 but now sells mozzarella, fromage blanc spreads,
queso fresco, ricotta, farmers, feta, skillet cheeses and cheese curds.
of the N.C. Dairy Advantage, a nonprofit created in 2007 by the state’s
dairy leaders to support their industry, say the state has one of the
most robust cheesemaking communities in the Southeast.
Department of Agriculture doesn’t keep statistics on how much cheese
small farms make, but only a handful were registered to do so a decade
ago. Now about 40 are.
A push to eating healthy and buying local
have helped drive this industry, which has grown and stabilized in the
past decade, said Steve Lathrop with the N.C. Agriculture Department.
certainly an interest in cheese of any kind. Americans consume an
average 23 pounds annually, according to a 2013 report by a consumer
group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“The fun thing about local cheese,” Lathrop said, “you can get cheese (that) you can’t get that flavor anywhere else.”
Part of that flavor is shaped by what the cows (or goats or sheep) are eating - the type of grass or feed.
Calico Farmstead, the cows are grazed on chemical-free grass pasture
and eat organic hay and forage, all the other feed is conventional.
of what determines the taste comes down to temperature and how much and
what combinations of cultures are used. Cultures react differently
based on temperature, which affects the final product.
makes cheese from cow’s milk twice a week. He gets up by 4 a.m. and
starts collecting the milk - 50 gallons - about 5 a.m. He hooks up the
cows to automated milkers and has to rush between the barn and the
creamery to stop the machines when he has enough milk.
track of the variations of his recipes in a notebook and carries with
him a copy of the third edition of “Home Cheesemaking” by Ricki
Carroll. Yellow sticky notes mark sections of the book that he still
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Lujan
spent more than six hours making eight eight-pound wheels of his Don
Agustin cheese, a Manchego-inspired, semifirm cheese with a sweet,
nutty flavor. The name honors his grandfather’s Spanish roots.
An idea grows
said he and his wife, Sandra Sarlinga, came up with the idea of
cheesemaking while swimming on vacation at Hilton Head Island. The
couple, who are from Argentina, were talking about what they might
develop next after a stint of baking and selling bread at farmers’
But making cheese can be a costly business, with
equipment in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Lujan got a $4,000
loan just to build his “cheese cave” - a temperature- and
humidity-controlled building where he ages his cheeses.
But you also need presses and vats and, for some, pasteurizing equipment.
“We didn’t have cows, a creamery ... or knowledge,” Lujan said. “But these are things you can get with friends.”
turned to their longtime friends, the Gerringers of Calico Farmstead
Cheeses, who helped Lujan set up his cheesemaking at their creamery.
Gerringers had started to make cheese commercially after several
farmworkers asked about using the farm’s milk to make cheese. Farmers
can’t sell raw milk directly for consumption, so the Gerringers
followed their employees’ idea and now make about 1,500 to 2,000 pounds
of cheese during a typical week.
“When we first started, we couldn’t find out what we needed to do or (what) equipment we needed,” Larry Gerringer said.
They also had no idea where they could sell their cheese and had to learn how to market it.
The trail begins
the industry has grown, cheesemakers have helped each other sell their
products at farmers’ markets or shops they set up on their farms.
cheese trail was started as another way to help showcase the cheese
being made in the state, said Johnny Blakley of Buffalo Creek Farm and
Creamery in Germanton, one of the architects of the trail.
first looked at joining the WNC Cheese Trail, which was started in 2012
and now has 11 members in western North Carolina. But they decided to
start their own because the WNC Trail is focused on the Asheville area,
They’re still finding and adding members, Blakley
said, and are tying cheese into some other popular and growing
industries in the state.
“We’re doing some cross-referencing with the beer trail and wine trail and even the barbecue trail,” he said.
All of the cheese made on the N.C. Cheese Trail uses either goat or cow’s milk.
said he plans to add two sheep’s milk cheeses, possibly by next year.
He and his wife recently bought their first flock of sheep - six ewes,
one ram and a wether, a castrated male - with hopes of enlarging to
Until then, he will concentrate on the many varieties of cheeses to be made from cow’s milk.
cheese he made just before Thanksgiving will be ready for sale after
sitting in the cheese cave for about two months, when it firms and mold
forms along its outer crust.
After that, only cleaning is required before sale.
expect that we will slowly add a few more” small cheesemaking
operations, Lathrop said. “We’ll continue to see a few come in and a
few go out, but the cheese market is much more stable.”
Our farm was mentioned in the December 12, 2014 post on Food and Brew Review
Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary: Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar
by Jerry and Regina
and I have always been foodies. The first year we dated, he never took
me to the same restaurant twice. We would travel the state comparing
Lexington style and Eastern style BBQ. There was a trip to Baltimore
for the best crab cakes I have ever had. From seafood festivals on the
coast to wild game in the mountains, we searched for the best local
dishes each region had to offer. It was a gastronomic whirlwind of
adventure for two. This week we celebrated our 10th anniversary at the
Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar, and we would like to invite
our readers to virtually dine with us and “share” our meal.
1920 two-story A.H. Bahnson home was restored and adapted in 2011 to be
used as Spring House restaurant. A unique atmosphere was created by
having separate dining and meeting areas like the Library Bar, Magnolia
Room, Sun Porch, and Main Dining Room with a fireplace. We dined on the
Sun Porch and although it was already dark outside, I enjoyed the
gorgeous expanse of windows overlooking the terrace. After being
greeted by Chef Tim Grandinetti, our evening started with glasses of
We shared two starters. The N’Awlin’s
Crawfish “Roll” with Red Curry Honey Dipping Sauce and the General
Tso’s Sweetbreads with Ham Jam and Hot Mustard Sauce. Ham Jam became
our phase of the evening and if they would ever sell it in a jar, we’ll
take two please! Tucked underneath the crostini, one never would
suspect that element of the dish would be so decadent and delectable.
brought a bottle of wine that we had been saving for a special occasion
with us. On Wednesday, there is no corkage fee. If your wine is 10
years or older, there’s no charge anytime.
For our first course,
Jerry had the Caesar Wedge and White Anchovies with Toasted Corn Bread
“Shard”. You wouldn’t believe how good the anchovies were; we both
wanted them to bring us out a whole tin. I had the Kale Salad with
Smoked Almonds, Goat Cheese, Dried Cherries, and Cheerwine Vinaigrette.
I know Spring House uses NC cheese in one of their cheesecakes, and I
meant to ask if the goat cheese in the salad was from NC too. It was
amazingly creamy. (Update 12/13: Yes, it was a local NC goat cheese
from Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery!)
My entrée was the Pork
Tenderloin Saltimbocca with Pimento Cheese Grits and Wild Mushroom
Marsala Reduction. If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Mirror Has Two
Faces with Barbara Streisand, you’ll understand what I am talking about
when I refer to the perfect bite. Flawlessly cooked pork, creamy grits,
salty prosciutto, and savory mushrooms combined together on one
Jerry had the Duck with Apple and Ginger
Chutney - Confit, Croquette, House Bratwurst, Sweet Potato, and Red
Cabbage Marmalade. No knife was needed for the duck; it was fall off
the bone tender. The roasted sweet potato was incredible. I grow sweet
potatoes in our garden and would love to know the chef’s secret.
chef sent our table a Butterscotch Bundino and an Upside Down Pineapple
Grits Cake with Pumpkin Ice Cream and White Chocolate+Caramel Swirl for
dessert. Topped with a cloud of whipped cream and salted caramel, the
bundino was my favorite. Jerry loved the rich pineapple cake. The
seasonal items on the menu like the pumpkin ice cream make the dining
experience unique each visit.
The meal had been outstanding,
each course beautifully presented with a subtle mix of flavors. We
relaxed over after dinner cocktails: a Toasted Rusty Nail (Drambuie,
Dewar’s Scotch) and a Moonlight Kisses (Dark Rum, Canton, Pineapple,
Rosemary Green Tea Syrup, Rock Candy Swizzle Stick).
Jerry and I
had a wonderful evening at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar.
With a seasonal menu using local ingredients, we can’t wait to see what
Chef Tim Grandinetti creates on our next visit.
Our farm was mentioned in the November 20, 2014 edition of The Winston-Salem Journal
Dixon: Farm finds a niche in baby ginger, turmeric
Amy Dixon/Special correspondent
One of the best parts about writing this column is discovering new places, new people and new plants.
Recently, I discovered Plum Granny Farm in Stokes County - and the unique crops that they cultivate
Owners Cheryl Ferguson and Ray Tuegel are best known for garlic. Growing more than 20 varieties has put them on the food map.
venders at the King and Cobblestone Farmers Markets, Plum Granny always
offers a great selection of produce and products, including
raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, numerous jams and fresh-cut
But Plum Granny also specializes in two crops that most
people are not familiar with: baby ginger and turmeric. Ferguson and
Tuegel gave me a great lesson on the cultivation and uses of these
crops since it’s now harvest time.
First, a little background.
ginger is a younger, more tender version of what you usually find in
the grocery store. Mature ginger is harder, stronger and much more
fibrous than baby ginger. Baby ginger is not as spicy and slices like
butter. It can be eaten fresh and it freezes nicely.
an Indian spice, most commonly found in your spice rack as a powder. It
is usually used in Asian dishes and has a distinct, spicy flavor.
Turmeric is also known for its curcumin composition, making it a super
food with cancer-fighting properties. It can be eaten fresh or dried
and turned into powder.
The process of growing baby ginger and
turmeric begins in February inside the milkhouse at Plum Granny Farm.
The milkhouse is an outbuilding on the farm. It’s well insulated and
serves as a great place to sprout the seed rhizomes of ginger and
The family farm has been in Ferguson’s family for 140
years, and many of the original buildings have remained, including the
“The milkhouse is probably one of the most useful
buildings on this farm,” Ferguson said. “We didn’t build a whole lot,
we’ve just tried to re-purpose things for our use.”
pre-sprouting process, the rhizomes are put in nursery trays, misted
periodically and kept warm with a portable heater. The rhizomes sprout
quickly and require no light at this time since they are being
“forced,” just like a narcissus bulb.
Once sprouted, the seed
rhizomes are moved to a large greenhouse, where they will grow
throughout the spring, summer and fall. Ginger and turmeric produce
attractive green foliage, but the real crop is beneath the surface.
Throughout the growing season, both the baby ginger and the turmeric
produce vast “fingers” of root rhizomes, which is what’s harvested for
Ferguson and Tuegel grow their baby ginger and turmeric
in large bags instead of pots. The bags are more practical. Their
square shape makes for better use of greenhouse space. The flexible
sides are easy to roll up and down, and they are more cost effective
than regular nursery pots. Their soil medium is a light and airy
coconut coir, which is ideal for the rhizomes.
2014 hasn’t a good year for baby ginger at Plum Granny. A combination
of bad seeds and fusarium (root rot) has plagued their crop, resulting
in lower numbers.
“We have struggled with our ginger this year,”
Ferguson said. “We had bad seed to start with, which has led to a
supremely reduced ginger crop for us. We were gonna have close to 170
bags of ginger and we’ve ended up with maybe 20 bags. We’ve always
known ginger is temperamental, and this year it has really shown us
this, even more so.”
Even though their crop has been smaller, the remaining baby ginger has grown strong.
Digging into a bag and pulling back the soil from a stalk of ginger, Tuegel showed me what the harvestable roots look like.
you should have is a nice pink top and a cream-colored bottom. As the
ginger grows we hill it and then it produces more as it grows outward,
like a hand.”
A ready-to-harvest ginger plant has large clumps of rhizomes, which look like fingers on a hand.
plant ginger in a relatively shallow soil,” Ferguson said. “And as you
start to see the pink on the top, that’s your signal to hill it. You
hill it like you would potatoes. You want to encourage the ginger to
grow out and down.”
Turmeric grows a little different than
ginger. Instead of growing up, turmeric grows down. A turmeric rhizome
produces nubs and side-shoots that continue to reproduce more “fingers”
throughout the season, eventually forming a large “hand” of product.
turmeric looks like ginger, but with a bright orange center. When cut
open, a piece of turmeric looks like a little carrot. The flavor is
mildly spicy, bright and has a unique mint flavor.
fresh turmeric to the spice rack equivalent is pointless. “You almost
wouldn’t know it’s the same product,” Ferguson said.
Turmeric has gained in popularity over the last few years, and it’s desirable in juicing.
first year we grew a little bit of turmeric, and we were kind of
walking blind,” Ferguson said. “We grew it and asked ourselves: ‘Now
what do we do with it?’ The second year we grew it, we saw we had a
market for it. And now customers really want it. They expect it.”
takes a little longer to sprout, and it has a little longer growing
time than the baby ginger. Baby ginger is typically harvested in
mid-October, turmeric in mid-November. Unlike the baby ginger, the
turmeric crop is strong this year. Because of their setbacks with their
baby ginger, both crops will be harvested at the same time this month.
and Tuegel offer baby ginger and turmeric at both the King and
Cobblestone Farmers Markets. It is typically sold in 2-ounce portions
for $4. They also sell it by the pound.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
on Nov. 29, Plum Granny Farm will co-host an open house for Small
Business Saturday. They are teaming up with Buffalo Creek Farm &
Creamery to promote local farms and local products. Plum Granny will
offer fresh greens, lettuce, paperwhites, mistletoe and garlic braids.
Their homemade jams are also a big hit at this event, which incorporate
baby ginger as the inspiration.
“The reason we got into growing
ginger was because we knew we wanted to do a ginger raspberry jam
similar to a jam produced by a farm Ray used to work at in New Mexico,”
These jams include baby ginger strawberry mint, raspberry baby ginger and raspberry cranberry.
those interested in growing baby ginger and turmeric at home, Ferguson
and Tuegel recommend contacting Susan Anderson at East Branch Ginger in
Pittsboro. Anderson is an expert in growing both crops. She can be
reached at (207) 313-4358. Puna Organics in Hawaii also does mail order
on both baby ginger and turmeric. You can find Puna online at
Plum Granny Farm is located at
1041 Flat Shoals Road in King. Ferguson can be reached at (336)
994-2517 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a
gardening question or story idea, write to Amy Dixon in care of
Features, Winston-Salem Journal, P.O. Box 3159, Winston-Salem, NC
27101-3159 or send an email to her attention to
email@example.com. Find Amy Dixon on Facebook at
Our farm was mentioned in the November 20, 2014 edition of The Stokes News
Stokes County Farm to Host On-Farm Event for Small Business Saturday
for a perfect gift for your Holiday giving? Stop by Plum Granny Farm’s
Holiday Market and Open Greenhouse event on Saturday, November 29 from
10-4. This event, which is part of the national Small Business
Saturday, will give visitors a chance to “Shop Small” by supporting
small businesses in the community.
In addition to Plum Granny
Farm, there will be other local farms and producers bringing their
products to the event: BeNutty Bakes and Butters of Winston-Salem
(gourmet peanut betters and baked goods), Greenberries Farm of King
(eggs and photography), Truffles NC at Keep Your Fork Farm of King
(truffle products including honey, butter, salt and white chocolates).
Plum Granny Farm will offer a wide variety of farm products, garlic
braids and other garlic products, turmeric and baby ginger, jams,
mistletoe and Holiday greens, kitchen herb gardens, paperwhite
narcissus and more.
The day will also feature on-farm activities
such as Christmas tree cutting and a bonfire with s’more making. There
will be refreshments and door prizes. The farm is located at 1041 Flat
Shoals Road, just off of NC Highway 66 north of King.
is partnering with Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton for the
day. Buffalo Creek is also hosting a Small Business Saturday event with
at least ten vendors participating. The farms are conveniently located
near each other (a 20 minute drive through beautiful country roads) and
offer a great opportunity for visitors to see small family farms in
Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday is
held every year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The day was
created by American Express in 2010 to support the small businesses
that create jobs and boost the economy. Plum Granny Farm, located just
south of Hanging Rock State Park, is a Certified Organic farm that
produces garlic, brambles (raspberries and blackberries), ginger and
turmeric as well as heirloom and other specialty crops such as
asparagus, artichokes, and fingerling potatoes. Ordering is available
on their website: www.plumgrannyfarm.com.
Our farm was mentioned in the December 15, 2014 post on Food and Review
Shopping Local For The Holidays And Snacking All The Way
by Jerry and Regina
weekend Jerry and I finished the holiday shopping, sent out our
Christmas cards, and decorated the tree. It was a super busy weekend
and started Friday with a stop at Farmer Brown’s Provisions, a mobile
market stocked with local and organic foods to pick up a box of
Accidental Baker Tuxedo Sesame Crackers. It was also a chance for me to
see what foodie finds they might have for Jerry’s stocking. Our family
thought it would be fun to fill each other’s stocking with favorite NC
foods. I’ve tweeted about the fantastic local products I’ve found for
Jerry and my parents these past several weeks. They’ve been banned from
Twitter until Santa delivers their gifts so follow us there for
stocking and gift basket ideas. Since my parents will see this post, I
can’t go into too much detail about what I bought but I can recommend
places that carry local NC food products.
Let It Grow Produce
was next on our list. They were having a food pantry drive (everything
will be picked up Thursday, December 18th for distribution on the
20th.) Anyone who brings in something for the boxes gets a free
Peppermint Latte, which is Joe Van Gogh coffee with a scoop of Homeland
Creamery Peppermint Ice Cream. We had some extra canned goods to donate
and enjoyed the delicious coffee while we shopped. I highly recommend
the peppermint ice cream. We picked up something for Mom and an
afternoon snack for ourselves. Let It Grow carries hummus made by
Diamondback Grill Restaurant. The hummus had just the right amount of
garlic and cumin. We plan to try their Roasted Red Pepper Hummus next
time. Let It Grow works with many NC farms & producers and carries
more than fresh vegetables. In a quick glance, we saw Fogwood dried
mushrooms, Running Pine herbs, honey & molasses, Buffalo Creamery
cheese, Chad’s Carolina Corn, Three Sisters Artisan Bakery breads and
Back on the road again, we headed to the Country Club
Dewey’s Bakery “outlet” to pick up a sweet for Dad. We had already
found something for Mom at Dewey’s in the Thruway, and I had thought of
a little treat that my father would enjoy. Even in the winter, there’s
outside work to do and he volunteers in the church gardens. He usually
packs his lunch or a snack so this bakery goodie would be perfect.
shopping in Clemmons almost did me in but a quick pick up me at Grapes
& Grains did the trick. I had a pint of the Wicked Week Freak Of
Nature Double IPA, and Jerry tried the Beer Army Battle of Brock’s
Mill. Grapes & Grains offers twelve beers on draft, beer flights,
and growler fills. Their complementary beer tasting is on Thursday, and
Tapoff Tuesday has a growler fill special each week. Check out their
Facebook for all the wine information. Next door, East Coast Wings will
deliver your food to G&G. The Golden BBQ Boneless Wings with
Inferno heat index had a phenomenal mix of tangy, hot and sweet.
morning it was time see what was going on downtown. Our first stop was
Black Mountain Chocolate. We sampled the chocolate fruitcake (chocolate
chunks, cranberries and pecans soaked in moonshine whiskey) and bought
one to take home along with a Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart. They
have one heck of temping display case and there mayyyyy have been
something decadent we picked up for Mom.
Across the street near
Mary’s Gourmet Diner, it was the last Cobblestone Farmer’s Market of
the season. The Chad’s Chai booth caught our eye. We sampled the Chad’s
Original Black Chai and purchased a cup of Jamie’s Grey to compare.
Jerry liked the Jamie’s Grey a bit over the Original, but I loved the
Original so we picked up a bag of it for home. There’s quite a few
locations where you can get their tea in Winston.
I made a quick
stop at City Beverage to buy Mom and Jerry a gift. Jerry and I were
there last weekend for the beer tasting and picked up a couple bottles
of Lindley Park from Olde Hickory Brewery, a bourbon barrel aged
imperial stout with honey and raspberries. That’s one of the beers we
will save and take to the relatives at Christmas. Each week City
Beverage does a free wine tasting on Friday and a free beer tasting on
Saturday. They offer eight beers on draft if you stop in for a pint or
you can sample them in a flight. They also fill growlers which are
great to take to a party or you can pick up a bottle of wine for your
The Authentic NC Goods store in High Point
had exactly what we needed to finish our shopping for the day. They had
samples out at the time we were there which helped us decide on several
new products for Mom and Dad. I won’t give away what we bought but the
Black Dog Gourmet sauce, Old Mill of Guilford muffin mix, and Granny
Roselli’s pasta sauce all were tempting us while we browsed. Granny’s
Donuts was next door, and we picked up a dozen chocolate crème filled
doughnut holes for breakfast the next morning. How can anyone resist
I was ready for a nice long break before the drive
back to Winston. Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery was a superb choice for
our late lunch. We’ll be back after the holidays when I’m not tired
from shopping so we can tell you all about the brewery but I have to
share a couple of highlights from our lunch. Jerry had the Texas Melt
with thinly sliced blacked beef, roasted turkey breast, applewood
smoked bacon, monterey jack cheese, and cheddar cheese. I had the Ahi
Tuna Sandwich. A thick, rare tuna steak was crusted with white and
black sesame seeds and topped with seaweed salad & pickled ginger.
The toasted bun had swirls of wasabi cream and on the side there was a
ramekin of rich, luscious soy ginger. Two thumbs up for their crispy,
crunchy incredible French fries. We shared two flights of beers so we
could sample all their offerings. I was blown away by their Amber
Waves. It was the last beer in the two flights and still had its head
by the time we got to it. The lacing was outstanding. It had a nice
medium body. There was a bit more hops that you might expect in an
amber but I am an IPA fan so it was a plus for me. We can’t wait to
return to Liberty.
We want to thank everyone who helped us find
our holiday gifts and goodies this year. Jerry and I had a blast
looking for local delicacies and delights with which to surprise each
other on Christmas.
Our farm was mentioned in the January 7, 2015 post on Food and Review
Food and Brew Finds and Favorites
by Jerry and Regina
was so hard keeping all the foodie finds a secret at Christmas. The
Black Truffle Butter I picked up for Jerry from Truffles NC has been
one of our favorites. If you want to indulge in this earthy, aromatic
splurge, you can order the truffle butter online or pick it up from
Whole Foods in Winston Salem. We loved it on a grilled steak!
Big Boss Baking Company
mom enjoys a simple breakfast that is easy to put together. She was
especially happy with the Big Boss Baking Company Blueberry Walnut
Granola I got her. She had a bowl with fresh blueberries and
strawberries we had put up in the freezer earlier this year from Mabe’s
Strawberry Farm. The loose style granola was sweetened with a delicate
touch so the notes of vanilla and cinnamon came through. It would be
great sprinkled over yogurt or ice cream.
Downtown Thai & Sushi
Thai & Sushi makes a killer Thai Iced Tea. The crunchy Spring Roll
starter and Spicy Tuna Roll fashioned a gorgeous and tasty lunch.
Carmine’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
written about Carmine’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria before. It’s
in our neighborhood and we like to pick up take out from them for our
Family Movie Night. This past Sunday, we tried three sandwiches and a
salad. Jerry got the huge and quite filling Antipasto Salad (Italian
meats, cheeses & vegetables, marinated in extra virgin olive oil
over a bed of lettuce with tomatoes, olives, onion & cucumber). I
had the Meatball Parmesan Sub (meatballs, baked with mozzarella cheese
& tomato sauce). Mom ordered a Philly Cheese Steak Sub (grilled
steak with green peppers, mushrooms & onion, melted cheese, lettuce
& tomato). Dad had what I think was the best tasting sandwich of
the group (and it was also the messiest!), a Tuscany Chicken Sandwich
(grilled chicken on focaccia bread topped with pesto, mozzarella,
tomatoes & balsamic glaze).
Athena Greek Taverna
time we were at Athena Greek Taverna I didn’t get a piece of Baklava
and had been regretting it ever since. This time I made sure to save
room, and it was so worth it. The flaky phyllo dough was dripping with
honey and stuffed with chopped nuts and spices.
Small Batch Beer Co
Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Co
Sunday, we stopped in for a pint at Small Batch Beer Co. and Hoots
Roller Bar & Beer Co. Small Batch is the home bar for the
Winston-Salem chapter of the American Outlaws, a group that supports
the U.S. men’s soccer team. Their beers rotate frequently, so there’s
something new on tap each visit. We had the Clock End ESB and Mr. Lemon
Man IPA. The brewers at Hoots are on fire. You’ve probably seen their
beers around town at Mission Pizza, Westerwood Tavern, The Porch, and
the growler fill station at Lowes Foods. Drop by the bar and toss a few
quarters in the jukebox, play a game of pinball, relax, and enjoy a
well-crafted NC beer. We had the Watchnight (a starkbier) and the
I was feeling a “Rumbly In My
Tumbly” as Winnie The Pooh would say, so we headed to La Botana. (More
to come on that meal in another article) I was thrilled to find they
featured several NC craft beers on their menu. For me, the Foothills
Torch Pilsner was light and refreshing. It was exactly what I was
looking for to go with my spicy salsa & chips.
Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery
final Christmas gift we had kept hidden in the freezer was the Buffalo
Creek Farm & Creamery Date & Honey Farmstead Chevre. Sweet,
scrumptious with the barest tang, we enjoyed the cheese on Millchap
Sweet Potato Company Crackers. Mom and I agreed that it would be
fabulous on a breakfast bagel too.
Our farm was mentioned in the May 3, 2015 edition of the Times News
Top cheese: N.C. Cheese Trail puts locally made cheeses on the map
By Michael D. Abernethy / Times-News
Is there a food more universally adored than cheese?
is within spitting distance, but there are religions that forbid it.
Pastries or freshly baked bread might vie for the trophy, but they fall
Cheeseburgers, cheese fries, cheesecakes, cheese
Danishes, cheese balls, cheese straws, cheese bread, cheese sauces,
cheese quesadillas, cheese toast, extra-cheese pizza, macaroni and
cheese. Heck, there’s even a cheese dog that’s literally just cheese on
Kids won’t eat broccoli? Add cheese. Use it to make
salads, soups and plain old potatoes decadent. Pair it with fruit or
wine and launch your taste buds into the flavor stratosphere.Face it,
there is no food quite as wonderful as cheese.
That’s why we now
have the N.C. Cheese Trail, actually the state’s second cheese trail.
The WNC (western North Carolina) Cheese Trail covers the hills and
dales of our Appalachians and foothills. Both trails have sprung up in
the last five years, following the local food trend and a shift back to
The N.C. Cheese Trail spans the Piedmont and
Sandhills, and currently lists 12 cheesemakers from Banner Elk (the
western outlier) to Mt. Olive. Each one offers different types of
cheeses and products, and more than a handful are in the Triad,
including two just across the Alamance County line: Calico Farmstead
Cheese in Gibsonville and Lindley Farms Creamery in Snow Camp.
in North Carolina is maturing,” said Steven Lathrop, with the N.C.
Department of Agriculture. “When it began, we started out with a lot of
fresh cheeses and chevres. Now, we have a wonderful variety.”
offered a quick primer on the types of cheeses, categorized as chevres
(goat cheeses, spreads), soft (mozzarella), semi-soft (Cheddar, Swiss)
and hard (parmesan, asiago). Ranges of tasty cheeses can be made from
the milk of cows, goats, sheep and buffalo. Different cheeses are made
by adding bacteria to milk and allowing it to ferment. Some cheeses,
like stilton, rely on fungus for their complex flavors.
milk has fermented, rennet - enzymes that cause the separation of solid
curds and liquid whey - is added. Once drained, the curds can be
molded, ripened and heated to create the array of cheeses we enjoy.
Carolina cheese makers boast many of those varieties, Lathrop said,
from cave-aged blue cheeses, Cheddars and many softer, savory cheeses.
LINDLEY FARMS Creamery, Ann Campbell specializes in mozzarella cheese
made from the Lindley family farm’s dairy cows. She sells mozzarella
cheese balls, feta cheese, spreads and cheesecakes.
everyone’s had cheesecake (and likes it), but you probably haven’t had
one like Campbell makes. The mozzarella is lighter, fluffier, with a
texture like soft fudge or cannoli filling.
into the mozzarella cheesecake market by accident. The family had been
looking for a way to make a value-added product from their dairy and
cheese was the natural choice.
Several years ago, after a
disastrous attempt at Cheddar cheese through mail-order cheese-making
kit, she used the kit’s mozzarella recipe.
“I couldn’t get it to
do right, but I didn’t want to waste it, so I ended up throwing it in
the blender with eggs and sugar and put it in a crust,” Campbell said.
The next day, a neighbor tasted it: “This is what you should do,” they emphatically told Campbell.
she perfected the recipe, her cheesecakes became a hit at farmers
markets. Her cakes have less sugar and fat than traditional cheesecakes
(her diabetic husband can eat them without blood sugar spikes, she
said.) Some Northern transplants with Italian roots tell her the flavor
and texture is similar to the sweet treats their grandmothers made.
days, Campbell’s scaled back on market days - an exhausting amount of
time spent cooking and traveling - and plans to open the farm to
customers one or two weekends a month, mainly selling orders placed
ahead of time through the Facebook page and website,
“I like small. Small you can control,”
she said, noting she would have to hire employees to keep up with the
demand of selling at five or six markets a week.
could be talking about the local food movement in general. People are
returning to the thought of knowing where their food comes from, how
it’s grown and who grows it. That’s spurred all sorts of North
Carolinian agritourism and food trails for barbecue, wine, produce and
NORTH CAROLINA-MADE goods are earning a reputation. That includes its cheeses.
last weekend, around 1,000 people attended the Western N.C. Cheese
Festival in Asheville to taste cheeses from about 15 makers, Lathrop
The State Fair now holds annual cheese-making contests,
with entries from across the country and around the world. Last year,
Chapel Hill Creamery took Best of Show and the Best in N.C. trophies.
Goat Lady Dairy, in Climax, has made foodie headlines nationwide for
its cow and goat milk cheese blends.
Now, national grocers want in on their share of the local cheese stock, Lathrop said.
idea for the N.C. Cheese Trail - the brainchild of Johnny and Robin
Blakley, of Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton, and Sue
Stovall, of Paradox Farm Creamery in West End - was to harness that
draw into a collective. The WNC Cheese Trail wasn’t interested in
expanding its reach too far outside Asheville, so in April 2014, they
started one to cover the entire state.
“Cheese has no
boundaries,” Johnny Blakley joked. “There’s so much cheese being made
in North Carolina, and so many different types of it.'
can visit farms, see cheeses made, sample and purchase what they like.
To become part of the trail, licensed cheesemakers need only apply at
the trail’s website and pay a $50 fee to cover marketing and webpage
upkeep.Buffalo Creek produces a range of soft chevres, farmers cheeses,
prize-winning fetas and aged raw-milk cheeses from its dairy goats.
Blakley cautioned consumers that raw milk can’t be sold under state
law, and that raw-milk cheeses must age at least 60 days before the
state will allow its sale. Anything else isn’t being inspected, he said.
That the trails work together means a yummy future ahead for the state.
excited about the cheese industry in N.C. growing and maturing,”
Lathrop said. “The trails are great. It helps cheesemakers grow and get
exposure and allows people to experience their cheese and go see how
their cheeses are made.”
details, including a map of the trail and a list of all artisan
cheesemakers on the N.C. Cheese Trail, go online at
www.nccheesetrail.com. The website includes contact information
for each cheesemaker and information about the types of cheeses they
produce. Call or email to plan visits or purchases.
• Calico Farmstead Cheese
3737 High Rock Road
Gibsonville, N.C. 27249
• Lindley Farms Creamery
255 Bob Clark Road
Snow Camp, N.C. 27349
Note: Calico Farmstead Cheese couldn’t be reached for this story.
According to its website, the Gibsonville creamery has been producing a
variety of cheeses - including queso fresco, mozzarella, fromage blanc
spreads and goat’s milk cheeses - since 2005.
Our farm was featured in the May 7, 2015 edition of The Stokes News
Goats, cheese and more
by Nicholas Elmes
For Johnny and Robin Blakley farming was something that kind of grew on them.
owners of the Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery told participants of the
Stokes County Cooperative Extension Small Farms Tour that they had
started out to be meat goat farm.
“We made the mistake of buying
some Nubians,” said Johnny Blakley. “They have a lot of personality and
my wife got addicted to them. Next thing you knew we had a few more and
then a few more.”
They started making soap with all of the extra
milk. Then they had to get a chest freezer to store it. They started
making ice cream for their own personal use.
“But there is only so
many gallons of ice cream you can eat,” said Blakley. “So I started
making some cheese and I started attending some cheese classes.”
soon found they had lots of goats they were too attached too to sell or
kill, lots of goats milk and lots high quality cheese. After they
visited a dairy in Pelham County and saw what a success it was they
finally decided to open their own creamery.
“Today we are a
Grade B goat dairy farm,” said Blakley. “That means that we are allowed
to do cheese, ice cream and butter. We could step up to a Grad A if we
had about $10,000 to invest in the equipment, but we are not built to
handle the production it would take.”
He said the creamy focuses on cheeses because it too expense to separate goats milk in order to make ice cream or butter.
“Goats milk is so homogenized that is almost impossible to get the cream off the milk,” he explained.
The Germanton farm is located just over the county line in Forsyth County.
are in a voluntary ag district and in Forsyth County that will allow
you to have a commercial building as long as it is selling agricultural
products in an agricultural setting,” said Blakley. “We ended up having
to put our dairy downstairs because of setback requirements. I had
wanted to build a slab that had windows so that you could walk by and
watch us making cheese.”
The basement dairy includes a milking parlour and processing room for filtering the milk.
we have our cheese making room where we have all of our bulk tanks and
then we have a cheese cave,” said Blakley. The cheese cave is kept cool
using a small gadget called a coolbot. “It is a little piece of
equipment that tricks an air conditioner into becoming a cooler. It is
a really cost effective way to get cooling.”
Because the Blakleys had to build a basement dairy, they were able to create retail space on the upper floor.
have taken advantage of that by carrying products from 12 to 15 farms
from across North Carolina and southern Virginia,” he said, noting the
store carries soap, cheeses , jams and jellies, grape juice ad pecans.
They also sell a variety of meat raised on the farm. “We got our meat
handlers license which is very easy to do. So we sell our lamb, beef
and we will have some chicken later on.”
The store is open every day except for Christmas.
goats keep us here all the time because they have to be milked every
day,” said Robin Blakley. “They don’t give us a day off.”
couple also sells their cheese and meats at Cobblestone Market in Old
Salem, the downtown Winston-Salem Cobblestone Market and at Reynolda
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.
Sunday Suppers on the Farm
sunset evening hosted by Bill & Margie Imus at Minglewood Farm
& Nature Preserve. Meal prepared by Chef Harrison Littell.
Our farm was mentioned in the September 1, 2015 post on Townies WS
Our farm was mentioned in the July 15, 2015 edition of the Pilot News
Northern Triad Farm Tour
- The growing interest in fresh, local food has made farm tours more
popular in recent years. The Northern Triad Farm Tour was held Sunday,
inviting the public to visit five diverse farms in the region.
Ferguson, of Plum Granny Farm in King, developed the tour after
learning that this year’s Carolina Farm Stewardship tour was cancelled.
“We participated in the tour last year, and had over 150 people visit
the farm,” said Ferguson.
Understanding that consistency is key
to establishing events, Ferguson reached out to other farms that
participated in the 2014 Carolina Farm Stewardship tour. “There was no
hesitation,” Ferguson said of the other farmers’ willingness to
Minglewood Farm and Nature Preserve in Westfield,
Truffles NC at Keep Your Fork Farm in King, Buffalo Creek Farm and
Creamery in Germanton, and Yellow Wolf Farm in Walkertown joined Plum
Granny Farm to create a wide array of experiences. All the farms were
open to visitors with no admission fees from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Tour goers could choose to spend the whole afternoon at a single farm,
or follow the map to visit several.
For more than 20 years, Bill
and Margie Imus have cultivated Minglewood Farm. Bringing together
Margie’s background in flowers and education with Bill’s interest in
food crops and forestry, the farm has been turned into a nonprofit with
a focus on outdoor education and nature preservation.
seen a growing nature deficit in children, so it is our goal to help
them find a connection with the outdoors,” said Bill.
serves schools, youth groups, seniors and families. “We cater our
programs to the needs of the group,” said Margie, explaining that
offerings are endless ranging from digging in the dirt and harvesting
vegetables, to art classes using all the senses, or nature hikes
identifying native birds.
At Keep Your Fork Farm, Jane Morgan
Smith grows truffles and makes products such as truffle butter and
truffle salt under the name Truffles NC. Visitors had a chance to learn
about the inoculation process and the dogs trained to assist in
harvesting the ripe product.
Harvesting 10 pounds of Black
Perigord truffles over a three-year period, Smith said, “There is a lot
of mystery in growing truffles.” A pioneer in the field, Keep Your Fork
Farm is participating in the first research grant for best practices in
North Carolina, hoping to pave the way for future farmers.
Granny Farm is a USDA certified organic farm supplying local
restaurants, farmers markets, and individuals in their u-pick area.
Ferguson explained the process of becoming and remaining certified
organic, “to me it is the most important thing that we grow
organically, so we are not poisoning our workers, our customers, our
environment, or our selves.”
“We do pick-your-own weeds,” teased
Ferguson, when explaining that no herbicides are used on the property.
Garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes, blackberries, apples
and a variety of herbs are among the crops grown on the 47-acre farm.
and Robin Blakley operate Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton.
The micro dairy breeds and raises the goats, then milks them and makes
cheese on site. “We process about 125 pounds of cheese each week,” said
The Blakleys also raise chicken, lamb and beef which can
be purchased at area farmers markets or in the store located at the
farm. “We also like to support other local farmers by offering their
products in our store,” said Robin.
Goat’s milk soaps and lotions as well as a variety of preserves can be found at Buffalo Creek Farm.
in Walkertown, Yellow Wolf Farm focuses on humanely raised livestock.
Raising heritage breeds of sheep, pigs, goats, rabbits, and poultry,
the farm offers fresh meat, eggs, and goat milk products each Saturday
and through their Community Supported Agriculture memberships.
hundreds of visitors to the five farms, the Northern Triad Farm Tour
provided an opportunity for the public and farmers to make connections.
Angela King, a guest at Plum Granny Farm, said, “I’m interested in
local food, and this was very informative.”
A diverse group, the
farms were brought together by more than geography. They all share a
passion for educating people about where their food comes from in an
up-close and hands-on way. One visitor to Buffalo Creek said, “I grew
up on a farm, but this is the closest my grand kids may ever come to
Each of the farms can be found online at:
www.minglewoodpreserve.org, www.trufflesnc.com, www.plumgrannyfarm.com,
buffalocreekfarmandcreamery.com, and www.yellowwolffarm.com.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.
Our farm was mentioned in the March 18, 2015 post on Kitchen Lacroix
Mushrooms: Project Cheese
not to like about a project that lets you explore food? Better yet how
about an entire month devoted to exploring cheese? In the month of
March I’ve been fortunate to sample a great variety of local and
regional cheeses, many of which I would never have found had I not set
out to do so. The best way to expand your food knowledge is to being
intentional. While it’s easy to traipse up and down the aisle of your
favorite grocers, why not be intentional about the food you research
and try something new? Pick a topic; let’s say mushrooms or oils or
herbs. Then, pick a time period: let’s say a week, a month or a quarter
and just dive in. So that brings me back to my month of cheese. For
today’s post, I have a beautiful Saura which I picked up on a recent
trip to Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery in Germanton, North Carolina.
The name Saura hails from the nearby Sauratown Mountains situated in
the Piedmont region of the state. The name is a variation of “Cheraw” a
legacy tribe of Native American Indians who lived in the region.
to the cheese itself. As you can see, the cheese is encased in a red
wax-coating. The havarti-style white cheese is made from goat’s milk
and offers a dense texture with a creamy feel. The flavor is sharp with
an undertone of salt, a characteristic that increase with age. To
offset the sharp somewhat salty flavor, I paired this with a mushroom
ragout made with chanterelle, shiitake and porcini mushrooms. I chose
these three for their unique and earthy flavors as well as their firm
texture. I like to balance a certain earthy flavor with stronger
cheeses. In this case, I also chose to make this a ragout or “stew” if
you will - cooking down the mushrooms slowly and methodically, layering
in flavors like garlic and rosemary as the liquid evaporated from my
pan. Evaporating liquid means that the flavor is concentrating -
something for which the taste buds yearn. Whether you serve this with
the aforementioned mushrooms or just a simple tear of freshly baked
wheat bread, the flavor and texture of this cheese is sure to stand up
So go ahead, be intentional. Find a farmer’s market
(lots are popping up with Spring upon us) and learn something about the
foods and farmers in your part of the world. Go on a “foodventure.” All
for the love of food.
Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery, LLC
Farmstead Goat Dairy
3255 Buffalo Creek Farm Road
Germanton, NC 27019