I hope you had a nice weekend! Charlotte Fresh and hubby sure did. We were on the hunt for cheese, among other things. Did you know that you can find locally-produced cheese that is very good? Besides my favorite goats’ milk based cheeses, there are some cows’ milk cheeses to try.
We started off Saturday morning at Matthews Community Farmers’ Market and picked up some feta cheese in brine from Bosky Acres, plus a few other things we needed. Then, we hauled it up South Blvd. to join in the fun at the Grand Opening celebration for Atherton Market. There was music, face painting, all sorts of fun and all sorts of food. We picked up a ton of goodies there, too. See just a few pics from the day on facebook here.
But I digress. Back to the cheese. Ahhh, cheese. I am a certifiable cheese fiend. One year, my sister gave me the The Cheese Bible as a gift, and I could not stop drooling over the pictures. (Although I admit, the really odd, moldy-looking ones scare me to bits even though they’re reputed to be tasty.)
In addition to the Bosky Acres feta, we picked up some Queso Fresco and Farmstead Cheese from Cackleberry Farms (sold through Coldwater Creek Farm).
Queso Fresco means “fresh cheese” and is an ingredient traditional to Mexican cuisine. It can be used in dishes ranging from quesadillas to enchiladas. Although it has a crumbly, soft yet dense texture with a slightly salty flavor, it is not very prone to melting. It tends to get soft and creamy when heated. I haven’t used it for cooking yet, but it is fun eating.
Farmstead cheese is basically defined as cheese made on a farm using milk produced on that farm. The cheeses are usually made by hand in small batches, and they can take on the unique flavor of the region where they’re made because they’re made from that region’s milk and aged in that particular climate. This particular cheese has a texture almost like a dense manchego, with a nice slightly nutty flavor.
Both cheeses were excellent in my afternoon snack with Dukes Bread, Grateful Growers Bratwurst slices and Stumpf’s Gourmet Tomatoes:
Here are some farmers’ markets where you can pick up your own local cheeses to try:
- Cackleberry Farms, based in Concord, N.C. sells its cheeses through the Coldwater Creek Farms booth at Atherton Market. Cackleberry produces fresh artisanal cows’ milk cheeses like feta, mozzarella, cheese curd for making mozzarella at home, yogurt cheese, farmstead cheese and queso fresco.
- Cackleberry Farms cheeses (see above) are also sold at Davidson via the Coldwater Creek Farms booth.
- Calico Farmstead Cheese from Gibsonville, N.C. uses milk from Larry Gerringer Dairy (where the cows are grazed on organic grass pasture) to produce fresh and aged cows’ milk cheeses like ricotta, queso fresco, havarti, colby, aged cheddar, mozzarella, farmer cheese, fromage blanc, feta, camembert, cheese curds and skillet cheese.
- Bosky Acres Farm (from Union County near Waxhaw) produces goats’ milk products, including chevre (a soft, unripened cheese) and feta in brine. They’re working on building a cheese cave this summer so they can bring to market more aged goat cheeses.