This weekend I had the pleasure of joining students from the International Culinary Center Farm to Table program on a visit to Bobolink Dairy in Milford, NJ. This working farm produces meat and cheese and the bake fresh bread in their wood fired oven. Even on a grey rainy day the land was beautiful.
As we set out for our tour the first thing the proprietor Nina White said was “take a deep breath…smell anything?” when it struck me, the smells were grass, hay, wilderness and fresh air. There was no “stinky cow” aroma that we anticipate passing traditional farms. This, Nina told us, is because the cows are completely grass-fed.
We were able to check out the milking operation and take a peek in the cheese room. All the milk is kept raw and unpasteurized to produce the phenomenal flavor of Bobolink cheeses which are aged ninety days.
After that our group visited the chickens who have an adorable guard, Cooper, looking after them to scare away foxes. He lives among the chickens. Nina then gave us a tour of her vegetable garden and we went back to the shop for a tasting. The liver pate on olive bread was a great treat as was the duck fat and garlic ciabatta.
Sound like something you would enjoy? Find out more about the Farm-to-Table program add-on to the professional culinary program here or visit Bobolink on your own here.
If you are more of an armchair visitor, we have a few great resources available in the library.
Bringing it to the Table by Wendell Berry is a selection of essays delving into farming and food. Berry profiles many different types of farms and farmersand makes the connection between them and what winds up on our tables – a connection all too often lost.
If you are more interested in rolling up your sleeves and trying for yourself, we have a copy of the Cheesemaker’s Apprentice by Sasha Davies. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know from types of cheese to selecting milk to thorough recipes complete with step by step photos. The guide also profiles cheese makers from all walks of life and different locations around the world.
Another hands on guide is Modern Pioneering by ICC Alum Georgia Pellegrini. This guide is more geared toward city folk who haven’t set foot on a farm but who would like to like a more self-sufficient life. Pellegrini offers step by step instructions for growing your own garden and cooking and preserving from it as well as other fun and basic projects for the home and garden.
Stop by the library to check these out – and if you find yourself in Milford, stop by Bobolink to pick up some fresh cheese.