2 TOMALES FARMSTEAD CREAMERY 5488 MIDDLE ROAD, TOMALES; 707/878-2041; TOLUMAFARMS.COM December 2014/January 2015 67 says Devereux. Wrap cheese in parchment or wax paper. If you must store cheese in a plastic container then take the lid off occasionally to let it breathe. BE PREPARED TO PAY Artisan cheese easily goes for $25 a pound and $40 is not unheard of. But on the plus side, a bite or two will satisfy taste buds more quickly than a whole chub of tasteless mass-produced cheese. SERVE CHEESE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE But don’t keep it out so long that it begins to sweat. “Maintain the appearance and integrity of the cheese,” says di Donato. Bring out only half the cheese at first so you’ll have a beautiful fresh piece to present later on. SIGN UP FOR OPTIONS A number of local cheese makers now offer mail order or cheese clubs that give you access to products that might not be in your local market. For example, Barinaga Ranch, a highly regarded Marin maker of sheep milk cheese, offers folks on its mailing list the opportunity to buy a special offering once a month, much as boutique wineries do. CELEBRATE THE SEASON Whole Foods offers cranberry orange cheddar during the winter holidays, according to di Donato. “Silicon Valley shoppers definitely have their favorites,” she adds, particularly flavored cheeses. “Anything that’s buttery, nutty, sweet, caramel-y, these are the crowd-pleasers.” LEFT: COURTESY OF COWGIRL CREAMERY; RIGHT: MICHAEL WOOLSEY Kenne, a dense and creamy-textured farmstead cheese, is made entirely from goat’s milk. Newcomer Tomales Farmstead Creamery is an offshoot of Toluma Farms, a beautiful 160-acre coastal property that Tamara Hicks, David Jablons and their two daughters bought in 2003. Over the past decade, the couple transitioned the former cow dairy into an organic goat and sheep farm, and in 2012 began making creamy aged goat cheese that is receiving a lot of praise. “We had no solid business plan,” admits Hicks. “It wasn’t even like ‘Oh my God, a dairy!’ We were looking more for land. But we had young kids and eventually realized that growing veggies wasn’t going to keep their attention.” While wanting to pay tribute to the land’s dairy heritage, Hicks knew that cows were definitely a no-go. “Cows really freaked us out,” she says. “Their manure is so huge. But we had dogs and thought goats are not so dissimilar to dogs.” Part of the allure of the tour is seeing goats up close—all rather cute it must be said— as well as hiking the pastures and visiting the milking parlor and creamery. Quickly it becomes obvious that sustainable agriculture is more than a buzzword here. The four Tomales cheeses have Miwok names, out of respect to the area’s original coastal inhabitants. The farm’s 200 goats rotate around 12 pastures and recently were joined by 100 sheep. The family’s newest cheese, Atika (two) is its first that combines goat and sheep milk. “Sheep are a lot more challenging and not as smart as goats,” says Hicks. “I hope this is an incredible cheese.” Throughout their cheese-making endeavor, the couple have kept their day jobs. Jablons is a renowned lung cancer expert and chief of general thoracic surgery at UCSF, and Hicks is a clinical psychologist. “It would be a much easier story if I said we wanted to make cheese right from the start, but that would be a lie,” remarks Hicks. “It’s happened in chunks, and it all started with a love of the land.” CHEESY BITES Organic, farmstead, certified humane goat and sheep milk. VIBE Smart folks who love Mother Earth. BOOTS OR HEELS Boots for climbing hills, pastures and walking on gravel. TOUR/TASTING OPTIONS Pre-booked guided tours.
South Bay Accent - Dec 2014/Jan 2015
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