organic cow milk; bloomy rind
moist, creamy, mushroomy
The Grey Barn, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
To talk about The Grey Barn’s cheese, we must first talk about their milk. The Grey Barn dairy herd produces the most wonderful, fresh certified organic, grass fed milk you have ever tasted. Their delightful herd of twenty-five, heritage breed, grass-fed cows are the reason. Eating a grass-only diet, the herd’s milk becomes infused with the flavors of the pasture through the different seasons.
With this milk, The Grey Bard developed a bloomy-rind cheese that is a true and straight forward expression of their milk and their pastures. To do this, they looked to the traditional cheeses of France — chaource, coulommiers — cheeses that are named for the place they are made. What they produced is a young, bloomy rind cheese made in a classic French style with delicate mold growth on the surface and a center that is rich and milky.
In naming this cheese, they were inspired by the Walt Whitman poem, Eidolons. In this poem an eidolon is the perfect form of an idea, a Platonic notion of reality in philosophy, an ideal. It is a word that can begin to describe that miraculous melding of elements that creates a taste of place.
Eidolon is made by bringing in fresh milk from the farm. It is warmed, cultured and then rennet is added for coagulation. Next, the curd is cut, gently stirred and hand ladled into its form. The cheeses are turned several times while draining overnight in the creamery. The next morning they are removed from their forms and are hand salted in the brine room. Here, Eidolons are left to dry for several days before moving to the cave. This cheese ages in their caves for about four weeks and they are turned daily as development the soft white bloomy rind appears.
Once fully developed, they are individually wrapped in a paper that is specifically made for bloomy rind cheeses.
The final result is Eidolon, a certified organic, bright, grassy cheese that smells of freshly tilled earth and has a creamy layer topping its dense cake like center. This cheese is not only unique because it is hand-made on Martha’s Vineyard but also because the seasonal changes in the pastures gives way to subtle changes in their milk subtly infusing this cheese with its own terrior.
Cave to Co-op is a partnership between Provision International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) to support local, artisanal cheese producers in our region and make their products more easily available to co-op shoppers. The NFCA is a network of more than 20 food co-ops in our region — including yours — that are working together to advance their vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. For more information, please visit www.nfca.coop.