another addition to the farm family – Janelle the horse!

   Before coming to Cricket Creek Farm, Matthew and I worked at Mandala Farm in Maine.  Mandala is a horse-powered farm; they use horses to cultivate 3 acres of vegetables.  The horses do all of the plowing, discing, manure spreading, etc.  They also have a breeding and training program for Fjord horses.  Matthew and I worked with horses every day while at Mandala Farm and we really came to love them.  The horses truly felt like part of the farm team.  They enjoyed working (the Fjord horse was domesticated over 4,000 years ago and has been bred for willingness to work for 2,000 years) and often felt like a real partner in work.  Since then we have often talked about getting a horse or two for doing some light work around the farm.  This autumn Matthew found a great fit – she is a Suffolk Punch named Janelle.  She has most recently been working at Little Seed Gardens, which is the farm where we worked before Mandala!  She is 7 years old and has done some work in the past, so this is not completely new to her.  She is a real joy to be around already.  She is calm around Matthew, very friendly to all of us, and comfortable around the cows.  Yesterday she did put us in our place by going for a bit of a run in the woods and having us chase her to get her back.  Matthew was able to get the halter on her and walk her back to the horse barn on Oblong Road, where she is living with some heifers.  Welcome Janelle!
   

Cheese making workshop a success at the farm!

Last Sunday I taught a fun cheese making workshop on the farm. The class

was a bit overbooked, 15 people instead of the usual 10.  It was a great group though – lots of good questions, enthusiasm, and energy!  We made Maggies Round and I led the group through the entire process from start to finish: they helped set up the cheese vat, measure out the cheese cultures, inoculate the milk, test the pH, cut the curds, hoop the curds, and wash up all the dishes.  The participants varied from those who work on other farms to those who were simply looking for a family activity on Thanksgiving weekend.  I enjoy teaching the classes because it is fun to share my love for cheese with others, and it is lovely to watch others get inspired by the cheese making process.
 

For lunch we shared a delicious potluck in our community room upstairs.  Everyone brought something great and we ate while the milk was ripening.
I am planning to teach a Tobasi workshop after the New Year, if you are curious about that, stay tuned for the date.

Topaz has arrived!

This is Topaz, our new breeding bull.  His breed is mostly milking Devon, but also has some Jersey and New Zealand Friesian in him.  He is 11 months old, and comes from Dharma Lea Farm in Sharon Springs, NY.  Those of you who have been following our newsletter and facebook posts know that we have been excited about him for months.  We made the arrangements to purchase him several months ago, but were waiting until he was weaned from nursing from his mother (just last month) and ready for the big move.  He is settling right in here.  He is extremely mellow but got right to work breeding a heifer as soon as he arrived.
To top off all the excitement, last week we found out that Animal WelfareApproved awarded a grant that I wrote to help fund the purchase of Topaz.  Animal Welfare Approved is an organization that certifies farms who meet high standards of animal welfare, and they also provide grants to farms who have a project for bettering the welfare of their livestock.  Topaz isn’t just any old bull, he is one who we have been thinking about since the spring, and comes from a farm that has a very innovative breeding program.  His genetics will hopefully bring our entire dairy herd into the direction we want to go, resulting in future cows who are better suited to our grass-based systems.

Gorgeous Shortbread

Have you tried the shortbread?  This work of art is a delicious shortbread made here by Jamie Ott at the bakery at Cricket Creek Farm.  It is delicate, sweet, rich, and gorgeous.  Perfect for treating yourself or a lovely gift.  

 

Note that Christmas bakery order forms are now available!  There are many delicious goods available including many breads & rolls, muffins, coffeecakes, crumbcakes, and three berry crisps!  The deadline for orders isSunday December 22nd and orders will be available for pick-up on Tuesday, December 24th after 11am.

Berkshire Bloom will be getting a facelift

Sometimes we like to mix things up a bit – keep everyone on their toes!  Our new Berkshire Bloom labels will be a vibrant blue, moving away from the pumpkin orange color that it has been.  Don’t be confused when you see it in the store or at market – it is the same great cheese, just with a label face lift!

Maggies Reserve, for a limited time only….

Maggies Reserve is the favorite of many.  We haven’t had too much this summer and autumn because of what our cheese production schedule last fall was like.  We have only a few batches and they are selling like hotcakes!  If you would like some, act fast.  If you are interested in a whole wheel, let us know and we can make that happen for you!

Create your own Cricket Creek Farm Gift Basket!

We have got baskets for sale to make it easy for you to put together a delicious holiday gift for someone….
 
Whether you are attending a party and want something for the host, or you are looking for a gift for a food-loving friend or relative, we have lots of options.  Small and medium baskets, an a whole host of perishable AND non-perishable food items that are produced locally by farmers and artisans.
Think of this as as easy and personalized gift.  You can even include some of the non-food items that we have made by local artists, such as candles, soaps, and pottery.  Have fun with it!

New calf born to Paris –

Our newest addition to the farm is this beautiful little girl.  She was born to Paris and is 1/2 Brown Swiss and 1/2 Jersey.  She is living with her mom and nursing directly from her, she even sneaks into the milking parlor to be by her mom’s side!  We are looking for name suggestions that start with the letter “p”.  If you have any ideas, we’d love to hear them on our facebook page.

Functional ceramics by Suzy in the farm store –

When I am not making cheese, attending the farmers markets, hanging out with the cows or writing the farm newsletter I love to make pottery.  Some of my pottery is now for sale in the Cricket Creek farm store, alongside the pottery of my amazing teacher Ray Bub.  Every piece is unique and was made with love! As you plan for your holiday gift shopping, stop by the farm store to check out the pottery and all the other lovely gift items we have in stock.

A sampling of images of my pottery can be seen here.   Check it out!