Cave to Co-op, October 2022

This Month’s Selection:

SWALLOW TAIL TOMME from STONY POND FARM, ENOSBURG FALLS, VT

A raw, organic farmstead cow milk cheese with a natural rind and buttery, earthy flavor.


Stony Pond Farm is a 260-acre certified organic first-generation farm owned and operated by Tyler and Melanie Webb in Enosburg Falls, Vermont. When Tyler bought the farm in 2004 it was run down, had poor pastures, and no roads; it was exactly what he was looking for.
After a stint at a large conventional farm and then for the National Resource Conservation Service of the USDA he realized the conventional methods were not the path he wanted to take. It took sitting in at organic grazing meetings at conferences to point him towards the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and that particular run-down farm

By 2007, Tyler had a herd of cattle, had built miles of fence, and was bringing the land back to life. To earn money, he was selling frozen grass-fed beef alongside cheeseburgers at Burlington’s Farmers Market. One week, a photographer from Brooklyn was visiting friends and stopped to grab a burger. That photographer was Melanie Webb. Melanie is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon and brings both business acumen and creative flair to Stony Pond. Leaving the city behind, but not her cameras, she moved to the Green Mountains and hasn’t looked back. In addition to working for a non-profit that advocates for people with disabilities as well as promoting local biodynamic communities, Melanie is also a full-time mom to her kids Willow and Wyatt.

People looking at Stony Pond Farm’s cattle might come away scratching their heads. The mix of breeds is a little strange for most New England farms—Jerseys, Devons, and British White. Their calves are even more unique. The milk comes from the pretty-faced Jerseys and some of the Devons, giving plentiful and rich milk that was sold to Organic Valley prior to the summer of 2019 when they decided to pursue their dream of making cheese. Melanie and Tyler then converted an unused part of their property into a cheesemaking room and another into an aging room where cheese is made two-to-three times per week.

If you were to ask a cheese pro what a Tomme is they’d likely give an answer along the lines of, "a small format natural rind farmer’s cheese." Another answer might be, "Tommes refer to small cheeses made during the summer months while the ruminants are out eating fresh grass." Both definitions would apply to Swallow Tail Tomme!

Swallow Tail Tomme is named after the swallows that swoop and dive down over the fields at Stony Pond Farm. They are a beneficial component of the farm's ecosystem, controlling pests that would bother both cows and humans alike. Made using raw milk from a single milking before aging for an average of 90 days, this cheese serves as a time capsule of the organic fields as they were from spring through early fall.

Enjoy some recipes featuring Swallow Tail Tomme, including a rich and buttery aligot (a fondue-like dish) and Tomme-stuffed pumpkins with thyme!

 


Sweet Potato Aligot

Serves 2 - 4

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
  • Kosher salt
  • Grapeseed, olive, or sunflower oil
  • Leaves from 1 small bunch sage
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
  • Large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 oz. grated mild cheese (cheddar or alpine works well)
  • 5 oz. Swallow Tail Tomme, rind removed and cubed

 

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, cover the potatoes with a generous amount of salt over 1 inch of water.

  2. Bring the pot to a boil, then simmer it until the potatoes are tender, or about 10 - 15 minutes. Drain, but don't wash the pot (you will need it again later).

  3. Meanwhile, fry the sage leaves:
      •  Line a plate with a paper towel
      •  In a small skillet, heat ¼-inch of oil
      •  Add sage leaves in a few at a time and fry until golden and crips, or about 1 minute or so
      •  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried leaves to the paper towel-lined plate
      •  Sprinkle with salt
      •  Repeat with the remaining sage leaves, adding more oil to the pan if needed

  4. In a small pot over medium heat, add the thyme and cream, then bring to a simmer. 

  5. Turn off the heat and cover until needed.

  6. Transfer the cooked potatoes to a food processor and pulse just until mashed.
      •  Alternative Method: Pass potatoes through a food mill or large-holed sieve to mash. 

  7. Return the potatoes to their cooking pot and set it over low heat.

  8. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the butter, garlic, and nutmeg until the butter melts.
     
  9. Remove thyme sprig from the cream.
     
  10. Stir the cream into the potatoes, then stir in the cheese a handful at a time until melted and stringy.
     
  11. Top the aligot with fried sage leaves and serve immediately.

 


Swallow Tail Tomme Pumpkins

Serves 6

Ingredients: 

  • 6 small pumpkins
  • 7 oz. olive oil
  • 1 branch of thyme
  • 21 oz. of Swallow Tail Tomme
  • 8.5 oz. chicken broth
  • 7 oz. cream

Directions:

  1. Open the pumpkins from the top, then remove the seeds.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
     
  3. Place the pumpkins on a plate, then sprinkle with oil and thyme to season them.

  4. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove.

  5. Lower oven heat to 350°F.
     
  6. Cover the pumpkins with foil and cook them for an additional 15 minutes.

  7. While the pumpkins finish cooking:
      •  Remove the rind and cut the cheese into small pieces
      •  Bring the chicken broth to a boil
      •  Add the cream to the broth and reduce the heat slightly
      •  Pepper well
      •  Add the cheese and melt over low heat while stirring often
     
  8. Remove the pumpkins from the oven and place one per plate.
     
  9. Pour the cheesy broth into the center of each pumpkin.
     
  10. Serve immediately.

 



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 35 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.