Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blueberry Season 2012

August 22, 2012.....Our organic U-pick blueberry season is now closed.

Apologies, but Mother Nature truly does control it all despite the best farming practices.....this season was perhaps the shortest in our record, since 1992, only 5 weeks. Many thanks to all for your support and hope to see you again next year!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Town of Milton Spells Favoritism

"How does one spell favoritism?" Or to re-phrase, a town that only enforces zoning regulations to some.

We posed this question as our courteous silence for over 20 years has come to an end. April 27 was the last straw. A certain "entitled" neighbor decided to move his 100+ year old house with professional explosive contractors on site, without ever getting a building permit or notifying the town, police or any of his neighbors. A recurrent pattern of behavior and openly defiant narcissism.

This caused some late pregnancy cows to stampede and crash into each other over the course of the day as they repeatedly heard sirens and blasts from the dynamite less than 75 feet from our dairy barn...and drilled well..why is it that this whole town must get a building permit while we have watched for 20 years, "minding our own business," as this neighbor has never gotten one single building permit-for his multiple commercial construction projects, which some actually might have fallen under Act 250 jurisdiction with the state.

It appears that some in our small town do not need to abide by the same rules/laws as the rest of us. Doesn't it "take a village?" Maybe not this one. Our barn is across from this house where blasting occurred directly behind it. 

Later, some broken windows were found in our dairy barn. Police said possibly a high velocity instrument (like a stone flying) caused it. Imagine if someone was checking the mail at that time? Road was never blocked off during the entire two days of blasting. Who would want to move a house anyway? Really? 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hand-dipped housemade Ricotta

We have been toying with the idea of bringing hand dipped ricotta to farmers market  this year. Hand dipped ricotta made from whey after the cheese making process, for those that might not know, is a bit different than the store bought product made from whole milk. It is a bit creamier and more dense in texture. Wonderful used in the usual way, stuffed in pastas, vegetables, lasagna etc. But it is most enjoyable smeared over a baguette with a little sea salt and olive oil and maybe even some balsamic vinegar or for sweet tastes, honey.

Spring has sprung early this year and so tiny ramps were bursting and just begging to be harvested. A little homemade flatbread with ramps and ricotta.

Wild ramp and housemade ricotta flatbread

Reopening Date

Happy Spring friends!

We thank you for your support and appreciate that you like to visit/use the farm. Please take note:

We are closed to the public until May 1, 2012.

This includes bikers, cyclists, dog walkers, hikers, kids in strollers, tourists, neighborhood walkers.......this road we built, the entrance to the farm, is our driveway. It is not a public road. For some reason in the farming community there has been an observation made that the public 'thinks' by default a farm is public property. It is not. This is our HOME and business. Please respect our privacy while we are closed to the public. Thanks for your attention in this........we felt it necessary to post this as with the recent warmer weather there has been a sufficient increase in traffic up our driveway....

We will also have new cheese viewing room hours. We will be open from 10-5 each day, not 9-5 anymore. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Butternut Gets Gold

Happy to announce that our alpine style cave aged cheese, 'Butternut', so named due to its buttery and nutty tones, got Gold at the most recent World Cheese Awards in England! Honored to be among large companies from Germany, Switzerland, Africa, France, Italy, Spain and Austria, who knew a little ole' farm from Vermont that could, did!?....Pun intended...By the way, the name 'Butternut' has nothing to do with the squash. There is no squash in it or on it. Ha! We are very proud since this competition was one of their largest, over 2500 entries, 200 judges and at least 77 cheeses just in our category.

The kicker though? We are almost sold out of this cheese right now as its season has ended. So we must wait for the ones to age in the cave. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Building buildings

I feel like we are constantly building. Ugg. This year began with blowing out old walls in the then cow parlor to expand our numbers and make for an easier and cleaner milking experience. Done. Sorry no pics yet.

Then onto the big barn/arena in June and that is still continuing. Will post a youtube video once it's complete for anyone interested in this type of construction. Gable end walls are next and hope we button it up before snow flies. Isn't that an oxymoron in Vermont?

And now finally we are onto the door entry to the self-serve viewing room at the cheese house. After 6 years!!!

That's huge. Well, not the project, but that it is happening before we are all snowed in which is normally when we begin things here. Next up? Oh, just a bit of trim on the several year old horse barn. And again, I'll be painting everything in full next year.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blueberries or Bust

Wahoo! It's blueberry time again and they are bursting with blue-liciousness! Is that a word? You can taste all the blue goodness in them, in other words, their powerful antioxidant health benefits. First day open was yesterday, the hottest day in Vermont this summer. It hit 93 up here on the hill, must have been worse down in the village. Eek! Thanks to all who came out!

We are now open Weds-Sat from 10-2 for picking. Please phone 802.893.2963 for directions and picking updates. We have complimentary cold water to keep you hydrated too. Oh, and crop's bountiful.

Certified organic since 1992. Follow us on facebook for more frequent ruminations from the farm.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ramping Up

Hmmm. I just noticed how very long it's been since I last wrote. Sometimes as a farmer/cheesemaker I feel that there are not enough hours in the day to put something on paper, being so busy, as well as thoughts of, 'does the world need yet another farm/food blog?'  That said, our facebook page has largely taken the place for notifications of upcoming events, products, ideas etc. Willow Hill Farm Facebook link.

Let's see. What can I slash off the to-do list that got happening today? Woke up early, went to do animal feeding chores, then with head nets in hand a la African safari off to a secret location on the farm to harvest the elusive wild ramps for farmers market tomorrow. Afterwards, I managed to continue painting cheese plant siding and trim, while husband rented a tiller for the tractor to prep this year's garden spot. Don't ask me why we need to rent a tiller when we own two broken ones from when we were veggie farmers in the 90's. Next up, is prepping cheeses for market while husband moves on to pouring concrete for columns at the cheese plant viewing room entry way. This is the third attempt. It's been so wet and with the flooding each time he did it, it collapsed back in on itself before he could pour concrete down the hole! Back to the ramps to wash, prep and package...

more animal feeding chores...laundry and dishes.....
One side of cheese plant painted? Check.
Garden plot prepped? Check.
Columns concrete poured? Check.
Ramps harvested and ready to go? Check.
Cheese ready for market? Check.
Laundry and dishes? Who cares.
Whew! I'm pooped.
What's for dinner? Hmmm. Smoked salmon antipasto salad with grilled ramps,  puff pastry with shaved Butternut cheese. Add a pomegranate cosmo.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

World Cheese Awards 2010

Just a quick post here, not much to tell except very busy on the farm tying things up for the winter-too many building projects!
We got lucky again and were garnered an award for our Butternut cheese, an Alpine style which is aged at least 5 months on our own ash planks harvested on the farm. This competition, which seems to be getting bigger each year had over 2600 entries and 201 judges. Yikes!