The idea behind The Creamery at Highfield Farm is to make the very best Artisan Farmstead cheese. Artisan products are made by hand, by real people, in small batches. Farmstead means it’s actually made on the farm where the cows are milked.
To do this we knew that we had to have our own herd of pasture raised cows because you can’t make good cheese from factory farm milk. No industrial cattle breeds would do; we have all pure bred Jerseys. In the summer the cows eat natural native grasses that were not pelted with pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers, and hay from ours and neighboring farms in the winter. They are not confined and usually choose to go out after breakfast and lay around the pond in the sunshine. The cows calf in the spring and we stop milking in the fall as nature intended.
Our milking parlor holds only two cows at a time so that each animal gets personal attention as each has its own distinct personality. The milk is gravity fed directly to the cheese vat. No long rides down bumpy country roads or storage in tanks, trucks and silos for days, and most of all, no pumping. Milk is a very complex and delicate substance that should be treated with care. Pumping is very destructive to the quality of milk.
The Creamery, where we make the cheese, has the absolute minimum of technology that is legally allowed. No steam, no air compressors, no pumps. The cheese is hand made slowly by people, not machines. Curds are developed in the vat, hand scooped into different molds depending on the variety of cheese, then formed in mechanical presses using gravity and weights. Afterwards the cheeses are moved to our “caves” for affinage. Affinage is the art of aging, turning, washing and testing the cheese in the cave under precise temperature and humidity until it’s just right for release to be savored and enjoyed.