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Hendricks Farm Cheeses Franconia


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#1 SG-

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 01:47 PM

Has anyone tried their cheeses or have any info about them?

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#2 cdh

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 03:51 PM

I have tried some of their cheeses... as a matter of fact I took a cheesemaking class there last summer.

Their cheese is technically excellent, but they concentrate on styles I'm less excited by. I'd be all over a small soft ripened cheese... but they tend toward large pressed blocks rather than small fresh discs.

And they price well above what I'm accustomed to paying at Murray's and Zabar's in NYC. So, I don't stop by there often.
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#3 Hendricks Farms

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 06:01 PM

I have tried some of their cheeses... as a matter of fact I took a cheesemaking class there last summer. 

Their cheese is technically excellent, but they concentrate on styles I'm less excited by.  I'd be all over a small soft ripened cheese... but they tend toward large pressed blocks rather than small fresh discs.

And they price well above what I'm accustomed to paying at Murray's and Zabar's in NYC.  So, I don't stop by there often.

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Times change and so do cheese makers, perhaps it would be worth checking in on Hendricks Farms again. Our fresh raw milk cheese offerings have evolved to include 6 fresh or soft ripened cheeses and several variations on them including blues. Supplies of soft/fresh cheeses varies with ripening schedules so an email might be worth the time. When we open our new facility this July, our selections and availability will increase. As far as price goes, you pay for what you get. Our prices are based correctly, and we operate without any subsidies from the government (as opposed to many European cheeses). We are grass-fed, and organically managed. These practices come with a price. Our ever expanding customer base understands and appreciates what we do and what we stand for. Quality and substance over quantity and fads. We are preserving practices and craftsmanship that is also a for-profit family business. Thanks for your interest and you are ALL welcome to visit and sample at your leisure. By the way, don't judge a book by it's cover, our website needs (and is getting) a major make-over! Cheers
www.hendricksfarmsanddairy.com

#4 nymerical2

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 07:24 PM

I have been using Hendricks Farms cheeses since last August at my restaurant(Evermay on the Delaware) with outstanding success. I am not sure what credentials the above poster has to back up his statement of their cheeses being 'technically excellent', but in my opinion, he is right. Each of their styles of cheese shows off the technical merit of the cheesemaker, but doesn't stop there. The cheeses also evoke the thoughts of the terroir and individually tell a story. This story starts with their inventive nomenclature and continues on through your tasting experience. I get a satisfying feeling using their cheese and knowing that it is a one of a kind product, born and bred in southeastern PA and can't be duplicated anywhere else in the world. Their cheeses work very well as a component of our tasting menu and I frequently send guests home with an additional wedge! I think it is certainly worth the trip from Philly to check out the farm and of course get some free samples. I really wanted to disregard the comment about the price point being high, but I just can't let it go. Can you really put a price tag on an over the top tasting experience? I don't think so. For a price comparison, take a look at Artisanal's web site regarding American Farmstead cheeses.(yes, most of those are half pound prices)

#5 rlibkind

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 08:38 PM

And they price well above what I'm accustomed to paying at Murray's and Zabar's in NYC.  So, I don't stop by there often.

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I'd have to taste their product before making a definitive judgement, but $15 a pound for an excellent cheese (which is what they get for their cow's milk product) isn't excessive. Considering that English farmhouse cheddars go for $20+, and the best Vermont cheeses approach that number, $15 can be a fair price, depending on the quality and style of the cheese. I'm willing to pay $10-13 for a "rat" cheese (salty, sharp cheddar of mid-range quality, so I'll certainly go to $15 for a finer example.
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#6 cdh

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 06:48 AM

Wow! Glad to see the dairy on eGullet! Welcome!

I'm excited to hear that the selection has expanded in the six months since I've stopped by last. Must drop by and taste the new selections. If you're doing soft cheeses now, I'm anxious to see what I've been missing.

As to my "credentials" and the restauranteur questioning them, I've got none... Other than being a bi-weekly shopper at the Murray's, Zabar's and/or Fairway cheese counters for the past 4 years (and less frequently for the 6 six years prior to that) and having tried plenty of cheese. I also have gotten to know what I like (generally not firm cheeses), and for the purposes of establishing my cheese cred you're welcome to quiz me if you'd like to determine for yourself whether I'm worth listening to.

I've seen them make their cheese, and they clearly know what they're doing. In my experience, Hendricks' cheeses match or exceed the textures and flavors of commercial product available at the high-end cheese counters where I shop.

Sorry to be raise hackles by mentioning price, but it is a part of the package of the consumer experience. And it isn't crazy expensive, but, given my ready access to NYC cheese shops, cheese from a couple miles away from home is a luxury...

Edited by cdh, 03 May 2005 - 06:50 AM.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#7 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 07:11 AM

Welcome Hendricks Farms and nymerical2!

I checked out the website, and those are some nice looking cheeses. Is there a place to buy them in Philadelphia? Ideally, I'd like to taste a few (goat, especially), and don't want to wait until a summer Saturday for a country drive to the farm...

#8 MarketStEl

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 06:06 PM

I stumbled across the Hendricks Farms web site in looking for info on raw milk laws and sales, and I signed up for the mailing list, but I have yet to take the plunge and purchase any of their cheeses yet, though they sound wonderful from the descriptions. There's only one reason why I haven't: I don't own a car, and I think it's a chore at best and impossible at worst to get to Telford on SEPTA. I would strongly encourage the Hendrickses to consider making some of their products available through the Fair Food Farmstand at the Reading Terminal Market, or inquiring about setting up a table of their own.

As for cdh's comment about their cheeses being pricey: I gladly pay $20/pound for a similar product, Green Valley Dairy's Pennsylvania Noble--which is available at the Reading Terminal Market on weekends--and IMO it's worth every penny. I've seen similar artisanal cheeses from abroad on sale at DiBruno's for about the same price, if not more. I don't know what they're stocking at Fairway (whose cheesemonger I heard talk on the subject once at Penn), but I can't imagine that they'd charge that much less for similar handcrafted cheeses.

Of course, I'm not buying this stuff for my mac and cheese--though I think it would be interesting to try making some once with a cheese of this quality. I'm buying it for the sheer pleasure of eating it straight. You don't need to buy a lot of it to have that experience.

Since either Trent, or Rachel, or both, have now joined the eG community, I hope they might consider the suggestion above. Welcome aboard!
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#9 KatieLoeb

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 07:11 PM

Welcome to Hendricks Farms and nymerical2!!! Hope to hear more from both of you!

I would strongly encourage the Hendrickses to consider making some of their products available through the Fair Food Farmstand at the Reading Terminal Market, or inquiring about setting up a table of their own.


The information about the Fair Food Farmstand is pinned to the top of this forum and updated weekly. The contact information for Anne Karlen is at the bottom of each post. If Hendricks Farms could hook up with Fair Food we'll have our first PA Forum cyber introduction and a lot of happy PhilleGulleteers!! :smile:

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#10 cdh

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 03:30 PM

Prompted by this topic, I stopped by Hendricks Farms this afternoon and got the chance to taste a bunch of the new cheese projects Trent has been working on since I last went tasting there six months ago. There are new soft ripened cheeses he's working on that are quite interesting indeed. I came away with small discs of Baby Blue (cow's milk) and Bluebell (goat's milk), both of which were quite tasty and very different from what they were working on in the fall.
Posted Image

Both cheeses are examples of Trent Hendricks' technique of using blue mold only on the rind of a cheese, giving it a tinge of blue flavor (and a really impressive visual appeal) without overpowering the inherent flavor of the cheese underneath it. He'd been experimenting with it in the fall, but has really mastered the technique now.

Posted Image

This technique is really well suited to cheeses in this small size. The blue flavor stands out and is clearly present, but the flavor of the cheese itself predominates.

I also got to taste a few samples of other cheeses that were ready to go, of particular interest was the ten-month aged Telford Tomme, which gained a distinctive intense nuttiness over time and showed signs of getting to a delicious crumbly aged-cheese texture with a bit more aging. This was in sharp contrast to the meltingly tender two-month-old tomme. There was a blue-rind cheddar experiment, which was done on a larger wheel so the blue-ness was quite muted. In a smaller format that could be a real winner for a lover of both blues and cheddars. As it is, the blue gets lost in the cheddar.

Coming in the next couple months will be an interesting experiment in dessert cheese-- a coffee-infused triple cream which sounds like it could prove delicious once it has done its 60 days of raw-milk required aging.

I wish I'd had my camera along on the visit, since I got a look inside their aging room where thirty-some different varities of cheeses are maturing now. A sight to behold. And testimony to the inquisitive and experimental cheesemaking that is going on there now.

So, Andrew, if you do get the urge to take a drive out into the country to visit Hendricks, drop me a note... they're right in my neighborhood... come and picnic on my lawn after you stock up with cheese.

And Sandy, since you're automotively deprived, you should know that they do ship. Just ask.

Edited by cdh, 13 May 2005 - 08:28 PM.

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#11 Pensage

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 07:04 AM

Good morning.

I've been reading this Board for about a year and finally decided to "take the plunge" after visiting Hendricks Farm on Saturday.

I was quite impressed with Trent, his family's operation, his passion and his products.

With the demise of Iron Bridge in Elverson last year, finding a local artisnal producer of not only goat cheese, but a whole variety of raw milk and aged cheeses has been a struggle.

It was worth the trip (only about 20 minutes or so from Phoenixville - home base).

I secured three of Trent's cheeses - the harder, cow's milk Telford Reserve, the Baby Blue (cow's milk) and the Blue Bell (goat's milk).

They are as described very well in the above post and show a deft hand at showcasing both the different milk used and the philosophy of the cheesemaker who knows where he wants to go with the end result.

According to Trent, he'd like to offer more in the "stinky cheese" genre, but has to bow to the realities of his marketplace and the fact that he is making a living off of the farm and feeding product to the chickens is not necessarily the way to pay the bills......too bad because based on what I tasted on Saturday, I suspect he'd put out some interesting "stinkers" that would rival what we have all purchased from say....Wegman's, DiBruno, et al that come from far far away and are increasingly using pastuerized milk in order to get into this country.

I encourage everyone, who can, to make the trip out, lobby for getting his cheese in some retail locations and to support this kind of local, artisnal vocation ( he also produces and sells beef and lamb in a variety of cuts). His pricing is in line with what you'd pay for good cheese anywhere else and can't be any fresher.

Just my 2 cents, have a great day!

Rich

#12 philadining

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:47 AM

Rich, welcome! And thanks for that post. I agree we really ought to support this kind of thing in our backyards.

So, are you implying that if we were to dress-up in chicken costumes and lurk around the yard, we might get leftover cheese, as it gets nice and stinky? Worth considering....

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#13 Pensage

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 09:45 AM

Actually, based on my experience (not professional - just fanatical), the guy's got some serious talent and I think if he knew he could sell the "really stinky stuff" he'd make it as regularly as his raw ingredients, time and aging conditions will allow.

Rich

#14 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 10:39 AM

Welcome, Rich! Thanks for the information, and I hope you'll stick around.

It sounds like there's some really good stuff going on out there at Hendricks Farms. I'll bet that there is a market for the stinky stuff: as the DiBruno's expansion shows, the public appetite for interesting cheeses is certainly growing. I suppose it's a matter of marketing...

#15 Refinnej

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 07:55 PM

My friend Joe and I went to a cheese party last week, where each guest was asked to bring cheese to share. Based on reading the recent post about Hendricks Farm, we decided to stop by for something truly unique (plus we were hoping for some samples!). We were not disappointed (and neither were our fellow guests!)

We enjoyed speaking with Trent, who explained that his goal is to create very special, artisanal cheeses. After we explained the type of event we were preparing for, he supplied us with generous samples and helped guide us towards some excellent choices. We came away with the Telford Tomme (2 month) and Telford Reserve (10 month), which allowed us to taste the difference as the cheese ages. We liked the Reserve especially, which we thought had the beginnings of a sweetness that we start swooning over in some aged goudas that we've tried!

The real star of the show, though, were the rounds of Bluebell. These are the cheeses pictured above, with a blue rind and a wonderful runny interior. We are cheese enthusiasts, but novices...and when I asked whether we were supposed to eat the rind, Trent responded that if we threw away the rind we were in BIG trouble, since it had been very carefully cultivated! Anyhow, it was a wonderful cheese and was highly complimented on at the party!

I think that our trip to Hendricks Farm and our conversation with Trent helped us appreciate how cheese is alive! It was fantastic to hear about the process from the source, and also to taste something that was so unique!

We also purchased some raw milk cottage cheese.

Hendricks Farm is fairly easy to get to by car - it is about 15 minutes off the Turnpike. It would make a nice daytrip combined with a picnic at nearby Green Lane Reservoir Park. The one time that I went to the park a few summers ago, there were a number of peach festivals going on at local churches en route!

We were very happy that this topic came up, as is was very timely and led to a great foody field trip!

#16 john b

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 02:28 PM

If I'm headed up to the Poconos, is there an easy way to stop at Hendricks and hop back on the Tpk without having to backtrack? That is, can I get off at Lansdale, go to the farm, then get back on at Quakertown to continue north?
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#17 Hendricks Farms

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 02:38 PM

If I'm headed up to the Poconos, is there an easy way to stop at Hendricks and hop back on the Tpk without having to backtrack?  That is, can I get off at Lansdale, go to the farm, then get back on at Quakertown to continue north?

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Yes, after you pay your toll at Lansdale make a right onto route 63 and take 63 about 3 miles to route 113 and make a right onto 113. Go about 2 or so miles and make a left on Godshall Road and the farm is 1/2 mile on the left.

If, due to construction, Godshall Road is closed go back one street and go north on Allentown road and pass the Franconia Park and Police station (1/2 mile up) and make an immediate right onto Indian Creek Road. Take that to Godshall and make a left (you'll see the farm on your left). The barn is about 3 feet off the road - big and brown.

I think it is easier to back track to the Lansdale exchange again rather than go up to the Quakertown exit for the turnpike. There is too much traffic etc.

Rachel
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#18 shacke

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 04:47 PM

Sounds like an interesting idea for a egullet road trip. I would be interested in visiting. I know so little about cheese but after perusing the site and seeing friendly posts from them, perhaps some planning is in order? I have a big SUV and its probably about an hour's drive outside of the city. Could arrange details with someone at the farm in advance. If there is interest, let me know. You can PM me to keep this thread clean. I couldn't possibly go until July, FYI.

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#19 cdh

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 06:58 PM

Sounds like an interesting idea for a egullet road trip.  I would be interested in visiting.  I know so little about cheese but after perusing the site and seeing friendly posts from them, perhaps some planning is in order?  I have a big SUV and its probably about an hour's drive outside of the city.  Could arrange details with someone at the farm in advance.  If there is interest, let me know.  You can PM me to keep this thread clean.  I couldn't possibly go until July, FYI.

Evan

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Hendricks Farm is right in my neighborhood... I'd say much less than an hour from downtown. Depends on traffic, of course, but in the evening when the Schuylkill and Blue Route are clear I can get from parked in CC to home in 45 minutes, and Hendricks farm is 10 minutes closer to town than I am.
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#20 glepore

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 08:16 PM

Stopped in today-its between my office and my home, and I'm sorry I've missed it before.

Trent is a very engaging host-I left so full from his samples that I skipped my evening meal. I wouldn't guarantee that he could be that generous with all his customers, or he wouldn't stay profitable for long, but still, it was an unexpected experience.

The cheeses themselves are at a minimum excellent, and some are outstanding. The blues in particular-the goats milk blue had a very pungent and delicious rind, set off by grass fed goat cheese that had a distinctive sweetness and roundness. I sampled it in a larger size, relatively firm.

The cowsmilk blue, on the other had, was a soft runny decadent experience. Wow.
Trent was kind enough to provide me both with one that was ready to gush any second (he labeled the paper NOW) and another that would hold for a bit. The runny stuff is really, really good.

I thought his prices were in line with the quality of the cheese offered-sure, no less than other pedigreed cheeses from DiBruno's and the like, but similar in quality, and local, which to me at least is worth a premium. At DiBruno's, you don't get to chat with the cheesemaker. My sale came to around 40 bucks, and Trent spent close to an hour with me, explaining both his cheese and his business/gustatory philosophy.

It hasn't been mentioned that Trent also raises lamb, chicken, beef and veal. He was out of the veal at the moment, but for those of you that haven't tried local lamb, by all means you should give his a shot-there is a huge difference between commercial and local lamb, imho.

#21 SG-

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 10:06 PM

Finally got a chance to stop by last weekend and I echo all the sentiments from previous posters. They do make some wonderful and wide variety of cheeses especially the surprising interpretations using goat's milk.

The only thing I'll warn you is that their current setup is reallly "rustic", I would not really even consider it a store to be honest, more like a store-room really. Fortunately they'll be moving to proper store in July up the street which should be a more pleasing shopping destination. Definitely worth checking out.

Edited by SG-, 10 June 2005 - 10:11 PM.


#22 KatieLoeb

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 10:38 PM

A "cheesy" road trip sounds like a fantastic suggestion! Who else is game? Sounds like a great idea to visit the farm and then everyone bring a "potluck" something-or-other for an impromptu picnic.

Anyone else interested?

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#23 MarketStEl

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 03:46 AM

A "cheesy" road trip sounds like a fantastic suggestion!  Who else is game?  Sounds like a great idea to visit the farm and then everyone bring a "potluck" something-or-other for an impromptu picnic.

Anyone else interested?

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#24 Lisa1349

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 04:20 AM

I most certainly am if it can be on a Sunday. Sounds similar to a certain potluck in North Jersey! :raz: Great ideas by Katie and Evan.

Edited by Lisa1349, 11 June 2005 - 04:22 AM.

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#25 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 03:32 PM

Since, as it appears, all the cool kids are road trippin' out to Hendricks Farm, we decided to make the trip this afternoon as well. While we're no cooler than we were before, we did managed to score some terrific cheeses.

Posted Image

First (pre-cheese) stop was at the Head House Square farmers market, for the berries and bread you see arranged so artfully around our pic-a-nic spread. The cheeses, though, were the star of the show. From left to right, we have:
Soudertoma: a firm goat cheese, a little salty, a little sweet, a little bit country, a little bit rock-n-roll. B's favorite.
Aged Gouda: We'd tried the regular gouda, and it was okay- mild and kind of boring, i.e., par for the gouda ourse. This has been aged for a year, I think, and there's definitely an improvement. It's starting to dry out and develop a nice nuttiness around the rind. It'd be interesting to see what these cheeses would be like if aged for three, four or more years.
Goadacious: This rocked my little world. Pungent, oozing, awesome. You know how a good goat cheese will have multiple textures: sort of chalky in the middle, but liquid on the outside? I freaking love that, and this cheese has it in spades. You can't really tell from the picture, unfortunately, but you can see how the rind is sort of collapsing into a cheesy spill of liquid deliciousness. Aw yeah.

It is indeed very rustic, and as others have said, les artistes de fromage are super-nice and filled us up with lots of samples: they've got a great variety. Prices, I thought, were very reasonable: we bought a lot of cheese for not much money at all.

#26 Hendricks Farms

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 06:32 PM

Breaking News!

Starting next week (maybe this weekend) a selection of our cheeses will be available a Di Bruno Bros on Chestnut St. Also next Friday 6/24 the cheesemaker will be at Di Bruno's over the lunch hour to talk cheese and hand out samples with reckless abandon. Thanks to all the kind words on this thread and a little publicity, we have an opportunity to introduce our cheese to Philadelphians. For those of you unable to visit the farm, this may be your next best option. If there are any questions or thoughts that we could weigh in on, please feel free to share.

Also exciting, we just broke ground today on our new cheesemaking facility one mile from our current farm. If there is any interest in regular reports or dialogue regarding this undertaking we would be open to sharing.

Thanks for all the support thus far, HF&D
www.hendricksfarmsanddairy.com

#27 Kim WB

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 07:10 PM

never mind. carry on.

Edited by Kim WB, 17 June 2005 - 03:45 AM.


#28 shacke

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 05:01 PM

Since, as it appears, all the cool kids are road trippin' out to Hendricks Farm, we decided to make the trip this afternoon as well.  While we're no cooler than we were before, we did managed to score some terrific cheeses.

First (pre-cheese) stop was at the Head House Square farmers market, for the berries and bread you see arranged so artfully around our pic-a-nic spread.  The cheeses, though, were the star of the show.  From left to right, we have:
Soudertoma: a firm goat cheese, a little salty, a little sweet, a little bit country, a little bit rock-n-roll.  B's favorite.
Aged Gouda: We'd tried the regular gouda, and it was okay- mild and kind of boring, i.e., par for the gouda ourse.  This has been aged for a year, I think, and there's definitely an improvement.  It's starting to dry out and develop a nice nuttiness around the rind.  It'd be interesting to see what these cheeses would be like if aged for three, four or more years.
Goadacious: This rocked my little world.  Pungent, oozing, awesome.  You know how a good goat cheese will have multiple textures: sort of chalky in the middle, but liquid on the outside?  I freaking love that, and this cheese has it in spades.  You can't really tell from the picture, unfortunately, but you can see how the rind is sort of collapsing into a cheesy spill of liquid deliciousness.  Aw yeah.

It is indeed very rustic, and as others have said, les artistes de fromage are super-nice and filled us up with lots of samples: they've got a great variety.  Prices, I thought, were very reasonable: we bought a lot of cheese for not much money at all.

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I go away for onnnne week and you road trip without us Fenton - you're a loner Dotty, a rebel.

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#29 MarketStEl

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 02:29 PM

A belated report: Went over to DiBruno's Rittenhouse Square location a couple of weeks back to score some Hendricks Farms cheeses.

The Telford Reserve is a wonderful, slightly sweet Cheddar-style cheese with a lot of character. I'd still put the Noble a notch above it, but it is outstanding in its own right.

Is the Goadacious supposed to be runny? The cheese I bought at DiBruno's seemed a little firm, and not like the cheese described uptopic, though it had a great tangy flavor.

Hope to have a chance to try those blue varieties someday soon.
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#30 glepore

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:15 PM

Is the Goadacious supposed to be runny?  The cheese I bought at DiBruno's seemed a little firm, and not like the cheese described uptopic, though it had a great tangy flavor.


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The Goadacious offered at the farm is usually at varying degrees of the aging process-it begins mostly firm, and gradually ages to a gooey, runny ultrapungent stinky cheese. Refrigeration tends to slow/stop the process.