Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Culture Magazine, Spring 2013

 I picked up a copy of Culture Magazine last weekend at the Oregon Cheese Festival at Rogue Creamery in Central Point/Medford, Oregon.  Didn't have a chance to read it until yesterday - over a week later.  As I am casually flipping through the pages, my eyes drifted across the New On the Market column.  Item number 2 is FREYA'S WHEEL!!!  My jaw practically hit the floor.  I look again and there it is.  My cheese!  In a magazine!  Cool!  I totally forgot that this might be happening. 

I remember an email in January after the article ran in the San Francisco Chronicle.  A writer from Culture wanted a photo of Freya's Wheel. They were going to mention it.  I thought it was for a blog.  I had no idea it was going into the magazine.  This is what happens when you work 12 hour days, day after day.  You start to forget things like this. 

I was completely gobsmacked to find my photo and mention of my cheese in the glossy pages of a magazine.  I was sitting along at the dining room table and there was no one around with whom I could gush and share the news.  The cat was asleep on the couch.  The dog had his back to me, staring out the window, hoping a squirrel might appear on the lawn. Jim wasn't around.   So I put the magazine down and forgot about it for several hours. 

That night, Jim picked up the magazine and was looking at an article on Spain.  I told him to look at page 10.  He does.  "Hey!  Franklin Peluso is making a washed rind Teleme," he announces.  He knows I have a huge weakness for Teleme.  "Yes, dear.  I saw that, too.  What ELSE is on the page?"  "Oh!"  Jim starts.  "Hey! Freya's Wheel is here.  I thought I recognized that cheese picture."   He was excited, too.  Such good news.  One more thing to put on the wall of our Farm Store!  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Update: Good Food Award! Anthony Bourdain! A truffle video!

January was quite eventful.  Not only were we featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, but we also received a Good Food Award for the Best Fresh Cheese in the United States.  Woo hoo!!!!!!!

I got to fly down to San Francisco to attend a fancy awards ceremony with Alice Waters.  I still can't believe that we have been recognized TWICE as having the best chevre in the country!  The ceremony was lots of fun.  There was a great reception with all of the winning products available for sampling.  Our chevre was given to Annie from Greens Restaurant at Fort Mason in San Francisco.  They put it on a crostini with balsamic vinegar, onions and micro greens.  Delicious!!!  The cocktails were fun, the salamis were great. Chocolate tastings were fantastic.  What's not to love about good food?

The Good Food Awards dovetailed nicely into the Fancy Food Show.  Jim, Elerina, and I went and explored as much as we could in one day.  Held at Moscone Convention Center, it is a massive showcase of gourmet food and beverages from around the globe.  I focused on cheese, naturally.  Chocolates were plentiful, too.  The atmosphere was much more restrained than past years.  Fewer give-aways, fewer samples.  Sign of the times.

The entire weekend was a like big party.  I got to see lots of my cheese colleagues and share many stories as well as my cheese.  I really enjoy the American cheese community and any chance I can spend time with them is time well spent.

I just put together a slideshow, giving you another look at what we're doing around Briar Rose Creamery.    Lots of photos of our fresh chevre and aged cheeses and our awards.  Freya's Wheel is our semi-soft, bloomy rind goat cheese.  It has a white surface.sort of like a brie.  Madrona, my newest creation is a taleggio style goat cheese with a washed rind.   It is reddish in color, similar to the bark of the Madrone tree.

Slideshow by Sarah Marcus, Music bed by Los Straightjackets, "Pacifica" from the album Viva Los Straightjackets.

Another fun video features Briar Rose Creamery's multiple award-winning Chocolate Chevre Truffles!  Michael Kalish, a San Francisco based cheese colleague, spent some time working at the creamery in October. Michael and his twin brother Charlie Kalish have plans to build a cheese aging center in the Bay Area.  They've spent several years traveling around Europe studying the art of affinage (cheese aging) as well as cheesemaking. Their goal is to work with cheesemakers, aging cheeses to perfection and then distributing the ripe cheese to cheese counters.  With help from Michael, I've been perfecting Madrona as well as the creamery's food safety plan.  He and his brother are big fans of our truffles and made this clip about them.  

February featured a mad rush on our truffles.  We were featured on Anthony Bourdain's show "The Layover" on the Travel Channel!  He visited a cheese shop in Seattle called The Calf and Kid.  The last clip spotlighted Briar Rose Creamery's chocolate goat cheese truffles.  Have you ever seen Mr. Bourdain swoon?  He swooned.  He LOVED my truffles.  Wow.  The guy does not like sweets.  As he said, "They shouldn't be good, but they are!" and "That's my kind of dessert."   Can't ask for a better recommendation than that.  You'll have to wait for the ad to play and our truffles are featured at the end of the segment. 

We've been busy making and selling lots of cheese this year.   Our little farm store is getting visitors from all over the world.  The wineries are sending cheese fans our way.  I really like the cheeses that I am producing.  This mad dream of mine seems to be gaining momentum!   I love what I do.  Glad to see others like it too.


Friday, January 04, 2013

San Francisco Chronicle!!!

Briar Rose Creamery's Freya's Wheel.  Photo by Craig Lee.
Jumping up and down for joy tonight!!!!  Our humble little cheese called Freya's Wheel is the cheese of the week in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Holy guacamole!   I'm so happy!   Plus, I'm in the Bay Area this weekend celebrating my birthday.  What a great gift!  I can actually pick up a hard copy of the paper and put it into my scrapbook.   Don't know who planned it, but the timing of this article is fantastic.

The Cheese Course Column by Janet Fletcher

Nice, personal essay-like review of my cheese.  I love the fact that the author, Janet Fletcher mentions the artisan cheesemaking class at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  This was my first "real" cheesemaking class that I took in 2005 and that's where I first got to know Janet.  I've managed to stay in touch with her over the years, seeing her at cheese conferences and at events around the Bay Area.  Who knew that several years later she'd find my cheese in a cheese shop and then she'd be featuring it in her column. 

So if you're looking for my cheese in the Bay Area, you might try Cowgirl Creamery.  They're selling Freya's Wheel.  Looks like my buddy Gordon Edgar at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco has a couple of Freya's Wheel in stock as of today.  Spotted a photo on their Faceook page.

If you're looking for my luscious, taleggio style goat cheese, I just dropped off two wheels of Madrona as well as two Freya's Wheels at the Epicurean Connection just off of the plaza in Sonoma. Sheana Davis is a huge proponent of artisan cheese and a cheesemaker herself.  So fun to be able to hand deliver cheese to her in Sonoma this afternoon.  The Epicurean Connection is the first cheese counter in California to stock Madrona! 

This article in the San Francisco Chronicle means so much for me on a personal level because my mother used to write for the The Chronicle. In the 1980's and 1990's she was a regular contributor to the Food Section.  She wrote about kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, and cherry picking.  We got to taste test heirloom apples.  She would critique restaurants with Michael Bauer.  She'd write about food finds in Finland.  She was a travel writer as well.  As time moved on, she wrote less about food and more about her dogs.  The food world was not of interest anymore.

If you search the archives of SFGATE.com you'll find some of her stories.  Most are very personal.  Like the one about the doves that came to nest on the deck.  Other are features about subjects that are close to all of our hearts, good food.
Here's a link to an article about cherries:
Here's the dove story:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Home for the holidays.

Snow.  December 2012.  Photo by Sarah Marcus

Things are rolling right along as we wrap up our first year at our new facility.  Today we're having our first snow this winter, we're delivering cheese to restaurants all over the county, and we're getting final orders for the holidays.

We've received more awards!  In October we were awarded FIVE ribbons from the American Dairy Goat Association!  Among those awards are TWO blue ribbons, one for Freya's Wheel, our semi-soft, aged goat cheese and one for our Classic Chevre.  This means that when judged against all other fresh, plain, spreadable goat cheese, our Classic Chevre was judged to be the best in the country.  WOW!!!!   Our feta, Iris, and chocolate goat cheese truffles all got third place ribbons.  We did ok.

Alistair checks out the ribbons.  Photo by Sarah Marcus

We are also finalists for a Good Food Award!  Our Classic Chevre is honored as one of the best fresh cheeses in the country!   In January, Jim and I will be in San Francisco attending the Good Foods Awards at the Ferry Building.  The winners will be officially announced at the ceremony on January 18th.  We're so excited!  I'm feeling like we're doing things right with all of this recognition.

Articles about Briar Rose Creamery recently ran in our local papers, the Newberg Graphic and McMinnville's News-Register.  Unfortunately, one must pay to view the articles so I cannot link to them.

A third piece ran in November's Oregon Wine PressThat article you can read right here.

And for your viewing pleasure:  Here is a video by our friend Christine Hyatt, the Cheese Chick.  A nice glimpse around our place:

Briar Rose Creamery - Fresh and Aged Goat Cheese in the Dundee HIlls from Cheese Chick on Vimeo.

Happy holidays!!! -Sarah

Monday, August 06, 2012

American Cheese Society Conference 2012

The annual cheese shindig just wrapped up.  This year it was in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I was invited to participate on a Friday morning panel about Recruiting, Hiring, and Training the Next Generation.  The other panelists were Steve Tate from Goat Lady Dairy in North Carolina and David Lockwood from Neal's Yard Dairy in London.  It was moderated by Culture Magazine's Kate Arding.  Great, meaningful discussion.  Steve sang my praises about being the perfect intern. I loved it because I had spent time at both Goat Lady as well as Neal's Yard Dairy.  I could comment on having been an apprentice for so long as well as having launched my own creamery. 

The annual conference was phenomenal.  I love being able to gather with colleagues from all over the planet and share ideas and stories.  Really helps to recharge my batteries. 

One of the highlights is the Cheese Awards.  Over 1700 cheeses were submitted for judging in the annual competition.  Results were revealed on Friday night at the big awards ceremony.  Kinda like the Oscars for cheesemakers.  Briar Rose Creamery submitted 6 cheeses for judging.  And the results???   Third place for our Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles!  I got to run up on stage and grab my very own ribbon.  Every year the competition is larger and so there are more folks competing for the same ribbons.  Just to get anything is a huge accomplishment!  I think we're doing something right!  

Goat Lady Diary got a BLUE ribbon, 1st Place, for their Smokey Mountain Rounds - a smoked chevre crottin.  Super happy for them!  Carrie and Bobby Bradds make such amazing cheese.  I sat with them at the awards ceremony.  When they won, we were all cheering, whooping, and hollering! 

Next year the conference will be in Madison, Wisconsin.  Can't wait to send more cheese to be judged.  I hope I can attend as well. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Catching the eye of local politicians

Photo of Sarah and Jim at Briar Rose Creamery by Michelle Blumenthal.

The McMinnville Farmers' Market opened on Thursday.  It was pouring rain for half of the afternoon, but that didn't stop the eager market shoppers and local politicians from coming out to see what's happening in downtown McMinnville.

The first day of the farmers market is always exciting.  We get to see people we haven't seen for six months.  Friends come up and say hello. Hugs all around.  It is as much fun for the vendors as it is for the patrons.  McMinnville is our local market.  These are our  neighbors.  We love the size of the market, as well as the mix of vendors.  This year Briar Rose Creamery is on the steering committee, devoting some of our time to this wonderful market.

The afternoon of the market was busy in spite of the rain showers.  We had lots of customers eager to try our new cheeses.  I noticed a photographer was busy snapping pictures of patrons at various booths.  Nothing unusual.  The market is a great place to take pictures.  Briar Rose Creamery's booth is located near the corner of 3rd Street (Main Street) and NE Cowls Street.  We're conveniently placed next to the wine tasting booth.  A different Yamhill County winery is featured every week.  Love the fact that Oregon liquor laws allow wine tasting at farmers markets. 

Around 3pm, a group of women were looking at wine selections offered by this week's winery, Twist Wine Company.  They were accompanied by the photographer and a reporter.  The entourage moved on to our booth and were curious about our cheeses.  One of the women introduced us to our newly elected congresswoman, Suzanne Bonamici.  We shook her hand and told the group a bit about our creamery and the fact that everything is made right here in Dundee. Jim and I walked the women through a cheese tasting, starting with our fresh chevres and giving suggestions on how to use each one.  We then guided them through the aged cheeses, explaining the different cheeses that we have available.  They like our cheeses and our congresswoman bought a piece of Iris, my washed-rinded, semi-soft goat cheese.   Yay!

Here is a link to the article published this weekend in the Yamhill Valley News-Register:
Article: Bonamici visit Mac Market Opening

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Evolution of Briar Rose Creamery


And we're done!  We have finally finished the cheese palace!  We were licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture in December 2011.  We've been making cheese and have been testing out our new AGING ROOMS!  Woo hoo!   The commute is a mere two minutes down the driveway.

Compiling the photos for this animated slideshow made me realize just how much we've done and accomplished.  We did it.  I could not have predicted that it would have taken this long, but we've learned so much about ourselves as well as the construction process.   We're still ironing out a few bugs, but everything is working and we can make all kinds of cheese. 

We've also been doing some growing, shifting and changing, adding new faces to the Briar Rose Creamery team.   I think we're on a great path and things are moving full steam ahead.