July is here and so are the kids! We are thrilled to announce the arrival of the first group of goat babies. Buffy was the first to give birth the morning of June 25th to the twins girls pictured above. We promptly named them Georgie (tiny ears like her mom) and Geronimo (big floppy ears like her dad), and yes you guessed it, “G” names are the theme this year! On average goats give birth to one to three kids at a time and their pregnancy lasts about five months. It’s going to be a busy few weeks for us as the main group of kids will be arriving in the first week of July. This time of year brings so much excitement and anticipation around the farm.
Meanwhile, in the cheese room, we’ve been experimenting with different curd textures and putting a lot of focus on the production of blue cheeses. Blue cheese is often a mystery to many people as it is such a different category of cheese and the types of blues vary greatly within that category. Some are mild and creamy, while others are tangy and crumbly or sharp and salty. I suggest starting off with a mild, creamy and slightly sweet version such as a traditional Gorgonzola from Italy or a Cambozola from Germany. My personal favourite is one called Saint Agur which comes from a mountainous region of France and is very soft, creamy and spreadable yet sharp and tangy. One of my favourite things to eat is a toasted slice of baguette with Saint Agur spread on it, topped with sliced rare steak and some fresh arugula…paired with a nice Okanagan Cabernet Franc of course! I don’t think it’s possible to be a cheesemaker without having a love for food!
Back to the production of blues! Blue cheese is made quite differently than a Tomme or Gouda in that we want to avoid pressing or sealing the cheese in its mould. We need to keep the curds loose with air pockets within the cheese and on the outside. In the last blog I spoke about developing natural rinds on cheese – but blue cheese is one of the odd ones out as we need oxygen to penetrate the cheese to produce that lovely blue mold which is what develops the flavour of blue cheese. The mold used is Penicillium which has many different subspecies – some of these are used in cheesemaking while others are used to produce the drug Penicillin. We culture our milk with Penicillium Roqueforti before making the cheese then as soon as we see the blue mold show up on the outside of the cheese after about 2 weeks in the ageing room, we pierce the cheese with large knitting needles (dedicated to cheesemaking) at two week intervals to allow oxygen inside the cheese until the blue mold spreads throughout. Just to be clear these molds are not the same as the molds you sometimes find in the back of your fridge and they are carefully cultivated and maintained throughout the ageing process. I hope all that information clears up some of the mysteries!