09 February 2011

Winter Farmers Market & Ricotta

Cheese production doesn't stop at Four Corners Creamery (aka John and I's home away from home!) just because it's winter!  Our goat milk production has slowed a bit this month as all the girls are awaiting kids, they are keepin' that milk!   So, we make a few different cheeses that are great seasonal additions to our line up. 

The first is whole milk ricotta.  Folks, this is not the stuff from the cooler section of the grocery.  This is warm, milky, rich, eat off the spoon cheese.  I am not Italian and just didn't get the "ri-coat" love affair that my customers had.  Until a visit to Italia in 2009.

A perfectly blue sky, a crisp, Sicilian morning in April rocked my world.  I watched a farmer deliver his Fresh Ricotta and by the time I made it to the dining room of the restaurant, it was dished up with a tiny cup of fresh fruit chutney, waiting for me.  The most passionate love affair ensued.  John is aware of this affair and feeds it weekly, right here in Tecumseh.  A spoon and the honey jar are waiting patiently for this week's batch.  Any leftovers are headed into crepes.

We learned more than just cheese making in Italy and Sicily.  We took pleasure in the smallest handmade/handpicked foods.  Simple meals created with joy and the fresh, fresh, freshest ingredients!  In fact, with all of the simple meals, it made restaurant meals seem less special, less flavorful, less personal. 

My favorite part of farmers markets and producing cheese is the personal aspect.  A farmer/producer "nourishes".  The actual food itself is nourishing, the connection to the earth nourishes our souls, the market itself nourishes our "primitive gatherer" and the relationships created nourish our community.  

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