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Jonathan White's Bobolink Dairy


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Making cheese this way, treating the cows so well . . .

Yes, it made me want to be a farmer. For about 30 seconds.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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This picture has been haunting me:

curdnerd14.jpg

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I guess I can’t emphasize enough how personal (animal?) the farm is—I was so happy when Jonathan introduced us to each cow by name. When he introduced us to Heike, I chuckled to myself as I have a friend from Germany named Heike and I had never met another Heike before I met the herd. Now I know two lovely Heikes. After we were introduced to the first row of milking cows, he corralled us over to the other side saying “You haven’t met the other cows yet. This is Eeyore and this is . . .” I didn’t even know that Chanticleer was Chanticleer until Jonathan posted on his behalf.

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

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Jin, sweet dreams . . . a few more cheese photos for you to sleep on . . .

curdnerd21.jpg

curdnerd22.jpg

curdnerd23.jpg

curdnerd24.jpg

Ellen...

I've just quoted your post so that these photos will show on another page...

I... I.. ///////////////

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Hi Everybody,

After much ado, I finally made it to Bobolink Dairy and Bakeyard last week!

I arrived Thursday afternoon after a picturesque bus ride through Greenwood Lake, NY and past many of the reservoirs that just last year were drying up and now they seemed as if one more drop of water were added, they'd spill onto the road. As it turns out, it continued to rain for 4 days and 4 nights, no overflow, although I was considering fashioning an ark from all the trees nearby. Warwick is a great little town with eccentric cafes and shops but then the bus stop is smack dab right at the only fast food place, a Burger King. It was depressingly bustling with activity.

After our hellos, and a tour (the ripening room and bread centers are converted cargo containers, painted red to fit in with the barn!) it was time to get ready for the 5 farmer's markets coming up between Friday and Sunday. The markets have stringent hygeine policies and do not permit cutting cheese to order. Of course, the cheese is cut as close to the market time as possible to retain moisture and flavor. I cut Spring Frolic and Tarte de Vache which were both incredible. I'd call them the most well known cheeses from there in addition to the cheddar. All while Jonathan is preparing the oven for baking on Friday. Much attention is required to ensure proper heat for the next day.

Not long after this I saw my first cow milking, which happends twice daily at the farm. The Herdsman (Josh, who is the male equivalent to the stereotypical farmer's daughter - tasty!) directs the cows into the stalls (see Ellen Shapiro's pics -http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST&f=5&t=22841&hl=bobolink ) and the milk is pumped into the dairy, where it will remain to await the morning's milk. The two are combined to make cheese, which takes place 7 days a week. His cows sure are happy animals and they have a better life than most New Yorkers.

Dinner that night was takeout from an outstanding seafood place in Warwick called Harpoon Bay Clam Bar and Restaurant. We had soft shell crabs, stemed mussels, frield calamari with an Asian spicy dressing followed by sweet, soft, fried plantains. I would never expect to find such a great place in the mountains! Visit www.harpoonbay.com. The decor is what Red Lobster was trying to do before they overdid it. Various fishing paraphnalia and cool bamboo chairs that remind you of the huts on Gilligan's Island. All served with Belgian Ale from Jonathan's stash. On the way there I saw the expanse of the Bobolink property, some located in Warwick, and some in Vernon, NJ. Offroading in a Volvo through the fields while not knowing how much mud is under the grasses sure is stimulating. Upon exit we found 1/2" pile of insects on the car, far less than the NYC Subway!

It was off to sleep because the next morning was the first bake of the weekend. I awoke at 3:30am with such energy and exhilaration to get to do things I had only read about. First Jonathan swept out the ash from the fire, then mopped it clean. He's constatntly checking the temps in different parts of the oven to know what the bake will be like. We went in and expanded the starters that he'd been working on. He made : plain rye, onion rye, garlic rye, plain "Mommy" bread (which qualifies as sourdough), rosemary epi (very fun to make), cranberry walnut (which made wonderful french toast!) and then the grandaddy of them all - onion cheese bread. This was onion rye dough with pureed cheese scraps folded in. This is made last because it makes a mess in the oven. The messy cheese oozed loaves look so appealing, anyone who inquires what that is ends up buying one. Because it reaches nearly 1000 degress, it's also the world's first slef cleaning oven. It's not even 11am and we've worked a full day and have a full day's work left to do. We break for breakfast, sunrise focaccia with eggs from the hen house cracked on top. Lucky me got to gather the eggs and meet the rooster, Chanticleer.

I walked up the hill all proud of myself, how many other girls from Bensonhurst have gathered eggs from underneath hen's asses? The rooster quicky stole my thunder. It was a staring match to just get in the door to the hen house. I got in and he attacked me from behind, pecking and scratching at my calves. I had permission to fight back, and I thought I did. I was slightly reserved in fear of injuring him. There were only 2 eggs, and 2 more I thought were laid rotten or something, because they were really heavy. I bought them to Jonathan after trotting down the hill quickly to outrun the rooster. Turns out the heavy eggs were decoys, designed to make the hens want to lay more eggs. Nice going, Lisa. I earned the title, 'City Girl'.

The focaccia was terrific, it had some red onion, cheese and Amish Bologna on top with the eggs cracked on the last few minutes of baking. The yolks are so yellow they look like dried apricots and so substantial and filing that one would be enough for breakfast. As discussed before, the fact that they feed on cheese, bread from the oven and bugs around the farm, especially maggots is what makes them so tasty. Also of note is the black hens that lay light blue eggs. Raw milk in my coffee was enough to ponder lobbying the government personally against restrictions. Later we cleaned up and began the fire for the next day. Everyone was away from the farm with commitments, so I made dinner. It's remarkable to see Jonathan and Nina both work enough hours in the day to qualify as 2 jobs each, and raise 3 wonderful children at the same time, while maintaining a friendly demeanor constantly. Everyone could take lessons about this.

Dinner was grass-fed beef stew with garam-masala, lentils, garlic and prunes. A dallop of yogurt on top, more Belgian ale, and we were set. Dessert was a peach-cherry pie from another vendor at the farmer's market. YUM! Here it is 10pm, we've been going since 4am. I don't recall when I've slept so soundly, out of sheer exhaustion.

Next was Saturday, when a store is set up next to the dairy for on site sales of cheese and bread. Most customers are repeat, while many are new with the mix of those familiar only with Kraft American. It's notable to see people taste the cheddar, when they think they've had cheddar before. Production can hardly keep up with demand. My personal favorite - the pyramid, which when fully ripe is the Fallen Pyramid and when less ripe a Tower of Bobol. This is a return to what retail was meant to be. Lenghtly conversations with customers, learning more about them, about their families and what they know about cheese. A far cry from the supermarket, "Beep, beep, please bag this yourself, scan your own items, pay quickly and move, NEXT!" People today are not forced to develop the art of conversation. Jonathan also maintains high customer service on cowsoutside.com while expanding the site to handle more sales with no help from 'farmed out' computer techs.

More preparation for the next day, Sunday is the busiest market day. Jonathan and Nina must coordinate 2 booths plus sales on the farm, and a tour group is coming in the morning for a cheese and bread lesson and are then to be served lunch. Dinner was leftovers, tasting even better now accompanied by raw snap peas from the farmer's market and buttered and dilled potatoes. The kitchen table has magically expanded to seat 9, more employees have arrived to work at the markets on Sunday, and all this pulled together seemingly without effort. More Belgian Ale, dessert supplied by a NYC bakery via a resident who works at the market on Sunday. Strawberries are also procured from the market, I reserve them for the guest house breakfast the next day. I am a strawberry fiend and have been trying to go picking in PA but the weather has thwarted my efforts for 4 weekends. Alas! Wonderfully ripe, sweet berries that have never even been to California!

Sunday was fun. To listen to Jonathan explain how to make cheese and bread numerous times and never get the feeling the he's reciting script or isn't excited to be doing what he is, leaves you longing for the same in yor own life. The tour group was fun, no one fazed by downpours while cranking out various focaccias and passing slices aournd from a peel. Clean up and then I had to rush to Brooklyn where my Mother had Sunday dinner waiting. Stuffed shells and meatballs, complemented by some amazing bread. I often tell the story of how I became a cook because my Mother wasn't one. Yet, I long for her food, because it reminds me where home is.

Clearly, if you haven't been to Bobolink, you MUST go as soon as possible. I left and took the rain with me. To those reading this, I hope my emotions are conveyed fully. To Jonathan and Nina, thank you for setting such an example and for making the world taste so good.

Thanks for listening,

Lisa

Lisa K

Lavender Sky

"No one wants black olives, sliced 2 years ago, on a sandwich, you savages!" - Jim Norton, referring to the Subway chain.

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Thanks for posting, Lisa. Sounds like you had a great time.

I hope you also saw the wonderful pictures on the thread from Fat Man and Ellen Shapiro's visit at A day with Curd Nerd, making cheese -- or perhaps that's WHY you went! :smile:

How did you make arrangements to work (and stay through the weekend)? Perhaps I've missed something at the Bobolink website?? And did you take a bus from NYC (maybe I should PM you to get details....)

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I wanted to go there one Sunday and take the Bread-making mini-seminar, but I cannot find a phone # for the place anywhere to make a reservation and ask some questions. Does anybody know the phone # of Bobolink? Thanks.

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I love the photos. The cheese looks wonderful.

I have two questions.

1) Are the rinds edible or do you cut them off?

2) In sheep dairy farms, the excess lambs are slaughtered with the lamb meat being a by-product of the dairy farm. Does that also happen on bovine dairy farms? What about Bobolink?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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1) Are the rinds edible or do you cut them off?

The edible ones are edible. The other ones get cut off. :laugh::raz:

Seriously, in the photo of the four cheeses in my hands, three of the rinds are edible (and delicious). You wouldn't eat the rind of the cheddar (second from left), though. I think that has to do mostly with the age of the cheese -- after awhile, rinds just don't taste good, which is why on cheddar, parmesan, etc., you don't eat the rind, but you eat the rind on almost any younger, softer cheese.

2) In sheep dairy farms, the excess lambs are slaughtered with the lamb meat being a by-product of the dairy farm. Does that also happen on bovine dairy farms? What about Bobolink?

I think in industrial dairy farming a cow gets slaughtered when it stops producing milk up to a certain standard, at which point it is made into hamburger and such. Males are typically sold for veal. Curdnerd can tell us exactly what he does at Bobolink but obviously, despite the very humane conditions he supports, he's not raising these animals as pets.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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2) In sheep dairy farms, the excess lambs are slaughtered with the lamb meat being a by-product of the dairy farm. Does that also happen on bovine dairy farms? What about Bobolink?

I think in industrial dairy farming a cow gets slaughtered when it stops producing milk up to a certain standard, at which point it is made into hamburger and such. Males are typically sold for veal. Curdnerd can tell us exactly what he does at Bobolink but obviously, despite the very humane conditions he supports, he's not raising these animals as pets.

My interest is in the veal. I regularly buy my lamb from 3-Corner Field Farm here in upstate NY. Their primary function is as a dairy farm. they currently supply their milk to Coach farm and have aspirations to making their own cheese as well. The lamb is a very delicious by-product of their also very humane operation. I have no such local source for veal, although it probably exists.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Get the latest issue of the Art of Eating quarterly (No. 64), which contains a massive article about veal including sources.

http://artofeating.com/

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Here are the two referenced that have Web sites:

http://meadowraisedmeats.com/

http://valleyfarmers.com/

Get the Art of Eating, though, because it provides the context.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Oh man, look at that one. It looks deliiiiiiiiiiiiiicious!

Sorry... couldn't help it.

Like bourdain said on his recent episode in Bangkok - "Look at the cute fishy. Let's eat it!"

I think we have come up with the motto of a true eGulleteer. :laugh:

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Oh man, look at that one.   It looks deliiiiiiiiiiiiiicious!

Sorry... couldn't help it.

Like bourdain said on his recent episode in Bangkok - "Look at the cute fishy. Let's eat it!"

I think we have come up with the motto of a true eGulleteer. :laugh:

Heh... it was a South Park quote.

While the other kids are shocked that the "cute baby cows" are turned into veal, Cartman offers his own thoughts on the matter.

--

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The day we spent with Jonathan, his phone was ringing constantly just with the baseline necessary calls from people who fix stuff, deliver stuff, etc. He just doesn't have any time to field informational phone calls, and hiring somebody to do it couldn't possibly be an option at that scale of operation. E-mail allows him to deal with inquiries in the most efficient possible manner in his off-hours. It's exactly the reason I train publicists and even most editors I work with to communicate with me exclusively by e-mail. If I took their phone calls, I'd never get anything done.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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We actually do have a public number: 973-764-4888. It connects to an answering machine, which gives our hours, directions to the farm, how to find us on the web, and will even take a message, we we will return, eventually. But rarely will a human ever answer it. People who come to the farm, on the other hand, get our full attention.

Jonathan & Nina White, cheesemakers/bakers

mailto:Jonathan@cowsoutside.com

Bobolink Dairy & Bakeyard

Grass-fed raw milk cheese

Wood-fired rustic breads

Located between Warwick, NY & Vernon, NJ

Our Webpage

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Here are the two referenced that have Web sites:

http://meadowraisedmeats.com/

http://valleyfarmers.com/

Get the Art of Eating, though, because it provides the context.

Thanks.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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We bought some Jean Louis and Spring Frolic at the Millburn farmer's market today. WONDERFUL. Thanks Fat-Guy and Ellen for letting us know about these cheeses.

Ditto from me also to Fat-Guy and Ellen for the great report. I ordered the sampler which contained the Jean Louis, Spring Frolic, Drumm and Top Hat and a couple others I can't remember names now. Also ordered a Fallen Pyramid and some cheddar. These are all amazing cheeses and are as good (or better in some cases) as anything I've had in my limited experience in France or Spain. Thank you to the Stein's for taking the artisinal cheesmaking process in this country to a new level from the ground up.

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