This Year, Give The Gift of the Seasons
///////// Sunday, November 6, 2016
One of the most popular items in our Green Dirt Farm online store is our annual Cheese of the Season subscription. As you start making your holiday gift list (and holiday wish list), keep this idea in mind for the cheese lover in your life (especially if that person is you!).
Our Cheese of the Season collection is a year-long subscription that celebrates the seasonality in the flavors and textures of our cheeses. As the grass our sheep eat changes, so too does the flavor of our cheese. The Cheese of the Season subscription allows cheese fans to experience and celebrate the changing of the seasons at Green Dirt.
Each seasonal package contains four of the cheeses that our cheese makers think best reflect our cheese in the moment. The seasonal packages also include the latest Green Dirt Farm news, a description of activities happening on the farm, and suggestions for serving, cooking with, and ideas for pairings to go with your cheeses. If your subscription is a gift we will create and send a special gift card describing the subscription and providing information about when the shipments can be expected.
So, what can you expect when you order a Cheese of the Season subscription? Below you’ll find descriptions of what we typically produce during each season, and what we tend to include in our packages each season.
The Winter Package
Winter is a quiet time at the farm. Most of the sheep rest during the winter season, until new lambs are born. The cheese kitchen is quieter too, with only our supplies of cow’s milk, and a small amount of sheep’s milk to work with. The Winter Cheese of the Season cheeses typically include three of our Fresh cheese flavors, and one of our aged hard cheeses. The Winter package is shipped in mid to late January.
Examples of our winter selections include (actual cheeses may vary depending on availability) : A 3.5 oz tub of Fresh Plain, a 3.5 oz tub of Fresh Rosemary, a 3.5 oz tub of Fresh Garlic Herb and a 6oz round of Winter Woolly.
The Spring Package
By late spring, when we send out the Spring Cheese of the Season package, lambs are being born, milking is in full swing, and the cheese kitchen is humming with frenetic activity to keep up with a great influx of milk supplies. During the spring season, we make lots of fresh and soft-ripened cheeses to take full advantage of the flavor and texture that comes with spring milk. Spring Cheese of the Season shipments usually contain one fresh cheese and two to three of our bloomy-rind cheeses. The Spring package is shipped in early May.
Examples of our spring selections include: A 7 oz round of our Woolly Rind, a 12 oz square of Ruby, a 3.5 oz tub of Fresh Plain and a 3 oz round of our Tuffet.
The Summer Package
By the summer, our sheep have been grazing for at least two months, and their milk is fragrant with warm and inviting flavors imparted by the summer grasses. This is the season when we focus on making Prairie Tomme and Aux Arcs, our hard, long-aged cheeses, since these cheeses best express the complex flavors of grass-fed milk.
Since these cheeses need to age for a minimum of two to four months, the Summer Cheese of the Season shipment typically includes selections from our washed-rind cheeses, a bloomy-rind cheese or two, and, when available, a wedge of one of our hard cheeses that has been aging for a year or more. The Summer package is shipped mid to late July.
Examples of our summer selections include: an 8oz round of Bossa, a 5oz round of Dirt Lover , a 3.5 oz tub of Fresh Spicy Chilis, and a 4oz wedge of Aux Arcs.
The Fall Package
In the fall, life on the farm slows down enough to enjoy the colors of the leaves and the cooler air. Milking of the sheep begins to taper off. But our Green Dirt Farm Cheese Kitchen can’t slow down yet; we need to make plenty of cheese for the upcoming holidays!
Fall Cheese of the Season shipments typically contain cheeses that are perfect for creating a cheese board for entertaining guests. During this time, our Cheese Kitchen is usually in the process of creating new cheeses. We love to share our newest creations, so you are likely to see one of our new cheeses as a bonus in your Fall Cheese of the Season package! This package ships mid to late October.
Examples of our fall selections include: a 4oz wedge of Prairie Tomme, a 2 oz round of Wee Woolly, a 5 oz round of Dirt Lover, and a 3.5 oz tub of Fresh Garlic Peppercorn
The beauty of subscribing to our Cheese of the Season collection is you’ll be able to experience the direct connection between changing seasons and the various flavors that they bring to our cheeses. This year, treat yourself, or someone you love, to the gift that delivers cheesy deliciousness all year long.
Pasture-Based Dairying: What Is It and Why Do We Do It?
///////// Tuesday, October 18, 2016
The Green Dirt Farm sheep team, led by Farm Manager, Eliza Spertus, is committed to practicing pasture-based dairying.
So, what is pasture-based dairying and why is it so important to us here at Green Dirt Farm?
• Pasture-based dairying means we feed our dairy sheep on grass pasture. Our sheep get approximately 90% of their nutrition from our grass pastures.
• Our animals are outside on pasture all the time except in bad weather, which is unlike most conventional dairies where the animals are confined in barns in or near the milking facility.
• Research shows that dairy animals fed a diverse grass diet have many more flavor compounds in their milk. We overseed our pastures with nutritious legumes like annual lespedeza, clover and birdsfoot trefoil to naturally boost our soil fertility and we encourage very diverse grasses, forbs and legumes to grow in our pastures to enhance the different types and number of flavor molecules that concentrate in our milk. This means that all of our cheeses start with delicious, flavorful milk.
• We believe feeding dairy animals on pasture is the most humane way to dairy. Our sheep roam freely on pasture and socialize normally with other sheep, and they eat the diet that they have been adapted to eat for millennia.
• We are proud of our Animal Welfare Approved certification which verifies our humane practices and requires that our animals be outside on pasture.
• Our grazing practices nurture our soil and protect our watershed by keeping the soil covered so it is protected from erosion, and preventing manure and pollutant runoff from entering our creeks and (eventually) our rivers.
• Our grazing practices also promote healthy topsoil by supporting a rich and diverse soil ecology.
• Well managed grass pastures act as a “carbon sink” to help balance the negative effects that animal agriculture has on climate change.
• At Green Dirt Farm we utilize 75 acres of our own pastures, plus another 20 of our neighbors’ pasture (who kindly allow us to graze on their land!).
• We avoid all use of chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers that can harm our soil microbiome or disrupt the healthy ecology of our grasses’ root systems.
• We do pasture-based dairying for all these important and practical reasons but also, and most especially, we do it because we know how happy our ewes and lambs are when they show us their sheep joy– leaping and romping on our hills!
Creative Ways To Use Green Dirt Farm’s Fresh Cheeses
///////// Friday, September 23, 2016
They come in six different flavors (Plain, Nettle, Rosemary, Spicy Chili, Garlic Herb, and Garlic Peppercorn), and they’ve won several American Cheese Society awards, but you may still be wondering how exactly to serve or pair our Green Dirt Farm fresh cheeses. We’ve gathered some of our favorite ideas for some delicious ways to use our fresh cheeses, and we’d love to share them with you.
Creative Ways To Use Green Dirt Farm’s Fresh Cheeses:
• Keep the cheese cold and crumble it on top of a salad, soup, or pizza
• Bring it to room temperature and spread it on bread, crackers, bagels, or sandwiches
• Use it as a stuffing in savory and sweet dishes such as mushroom caps, chicken, pork, peaches, peppers, grape leaves, or dates wrapped in bacon
• Use it as a replacement for buttermilk in a biscuit recipe
• At room temperature, use it as an emulsifier in a salad dressing
• Add it to omelets, frittatas or quiches
• Sprinkle some of it on top to finish a risotto
• Instead of using butter, let some of it melt on top of roasted vegetables
• Use it in Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, burritos, and tacos
• Spread some on toast and use it as a base for bruschetta
• Use it as a base for a yummy savory tart
• In Italian recipes, you can use our fresh cheeses as a replacement for Parmesan
• For a healthier and slightly tangier flavor, use our plain fresh cheese instead of cream cheese in frostings
• Try various flavors in your favorite potato dishes (mashed, au gratin, or roasted)
• Play around with adding our plain fresh cheese into a cheesecake
• Sprinkle some fresh cheese and drizzle a little olive oil on top of hummus
• Use any of our fresh cheese flavors on your next cheeseboard. If you’re serving the plain flavor, you can pair it with preserves, or you can serve one of the flavored varieties on it’s own.
Did you get some ideas? Let us know which ones you plan to use the next time you buy one of our fresh cheeses! Please share your ideas for other ways to use them on our Facebook page or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have You Tried Our Award-Winning Cheeses Yet?
///////// Friday, September 9, 2016
One of our absolute favorite weeks of the year comes in the middle of the summer. For four glorious days, we get to mingle with and compete against the greatest cheese makers in the country at the annual American Cheese Society Conference & Competition. Hosted by the American Cheese Society, the nation’s foremost authority on cheese and yogurts, the Conference & Competition gives us the chance to represent Green Dirt Farm with the finest examples of our work.
Green Dirt Farm was honored to participate in this year’s ACS Conference & Competition, which was held in Des Moines from July 27-30. And we are absolutely thrilled to announce that we took home not one, not two but (wait for it) NINE awards! We are still floating from the news. We are confident the high honors come thanks to our incredible team and our dedication to producing exceptional products.
So, have you tried all of our award winning products yet? Check out our Products page to learn more about and purchase the cheeses and yogurts that won big at this year’s ACS Conference & Competition. Or visit us at our new shop in Weston, Green Dirt Farm Creamery, and get a chance to talk directly with the Green Dirt team when you pick up your award winners.
Green Dirt Farm’s American Cheese Society 2016 Competition Winners:
1st Place – Fresh Sheep Cheese w/ Flavor Added: Fresh – Garlic Peppercorn
2nd Place – Yogurt, Plain, Sheep’s Milk: Only Ewe Plain
2nd Place – Fresh Sheep’s Milk, aged 0-30 days: Fresh – Plain
2nd Place – Sheep’s Milk, aged 31-60 days: Tuffet
2nd Place – American Made International Style Made From Sheep or Mixed Milks: Prairie Tomme
3rd Place – Sheep’s Milk, aged 31-60 days: Woolly Rind
3rd Place – Sheep’s Milk, aged 31-60 days: Dirt Lover
3rd Place – Fresh Sheep Cheese w/ Flavor Added: Fresh – Nettle
3rd Place – American Original’s made from Sheep’s Milk: Bossa
The Creamery = Your Fall Destination
///////// Thursday, August 25, 2016
This fall, what could be dreamier than a trip to Weston for apple picking, a farm tour, and a visit to Green Dirt Farm’s new Creamery? We opened the Green Dirt Farm Creamery in June, and it has quickly become a favorite destination for veteran fans and new Green Dirt friends alike.
Located at the corner of 45 Hwy and Welt Street on the outskirts of the lovely town of Weston, the Green Dirt Farm Creamery is a retail space and sandwich shop that features cheeses, yogurts, and ice creams made right here at our farm. Our chef and Creamery general manager, Pat McCroy, has crafted a variety of delicious sandwiches and meat and cheese boards that pair perfectly with the local beers and wines we have available from Boulevard Brewing Company and Terra Vox Wines.
We are proud to feature hand-crafted goods from local and midwestern regional artisans and makers, including breads from Weston’s own Hearth Bakery, cured meats from La Quercia, and pickles and preserves from KC Canning Co.
The space also serves as a tasting room for Terra Vox wines and our cheeses, and is the central meeting place for our farm tours. Whether you’re planning for a fall picnic, a romantic afternoon getaway, or a weekend family outing, there’s plenty of room at the Creamery for you to eat-in, or you can take your treats away for an outdoor dining adventure!
To learn more and plan your visit, check out our website or call 816-386-2156.
Thursday through Sunday, from 11am to 7pm
The Creamery is at the corner of 45 Hwy and Welt Street in Weston (1099 Welt Street, Weston, MO 64098). Google maps or GPS will bring you right here. If you prefer the old school way to navigate to us, here are a few easy directions: Take exit 20 from I-29 follow the signs to Weston. At the intersection of 45 Hwy and 273 Hwy turn right. Follow 45 Hwy north to Welt street (just past the New Deal Warehouse and Hearth Bakery). Turn left onto Welt Street and follow the sheep to our shop! Ewe are here!
Featured Local Artisans
Hearth Bakery breads
Terra Vox Wines
Dragonfly fruit preserves
American Spoon condiments
KC Canning Co. pickles and preserves
A Message About Our Event Ticket Pricing
///////// Tuesday, April 12, 2016
With tickets for our popular Farm Table Dinner Series going on sale at 9 am on Earth Day (Friday, April 22), we want to take a moment to address this year’s increase in ticket prices for our events. Although we have struggled with this decision many times over the years, it was ultimately necessary to increase ticket prices this year to protect the economic viability of our business and the other small, local artisans who we support.
At Green Dirt Farm, it is always our number one priority to provide our customers and community members with exceptional cheese experiences. Whether we are hosting cheese appreciation events, sampling our goods at local farmers’ markets, or collaborating with local chefs to put together our beloved farm table dinners, it is imperative that we offer high quality products and experiences to our guests. We believe in supporting local businesses, and when we work together with local food artisans, we want to make sure that we honor their craft and time with compensation.
When you buy a ticket to one of our Farm Table Dinners, you are making a direct contribution to support small, local food artisans and our local rural communities as well. The benefit of that support is the opportunity to attend a unique five-course meal, featuring Green Dirt Farm products and other locally sourced farm fare. You get to enjoy your one of a kind meal under the stained-glass windows of our gorgeous barn. Your meal is prepared by one of the best chefs in the city, and shared at our farm table with an intimate group of guests. It’s a chance to eat local, be close to the source of your food, and take yourself on a culinary adventure.
We put a lot of thought and care into planning our events and making them happen, and we are incredibly grateful for our community of collaborators, neighbors, and guests. We are so excited to launch this year’s season of dinners and tastings. We hope to see you at one of our spectacular collaborative events!
A Note from Eliza
///////// Monday, February 15, 2016
With the start of the new year came new ideas, new jobs, a lot of changes, and most importantly excitement. Our AWA partner dairies started supplying the Cheese Kitchen with oodles of fresh sheep’s milk, our wonderful Border Collie pups are getting older and going to their new homes, and breeding season has begun. The Cheese Kitchen has lots of exciting new products they are working on, but I’ll leave talking about that to them. This note is about what’s been happening with our animals.
On the farm these days we have been very busy! At the end of January, we spent a day taking a close look at all our sheep. We checked the condition of the ladies, especially our 10 oldest girls (one of whom is healthy and thriving at age 11, a very advanced age for a sheep). At the same time we separated the girls into our breeding groups. 35 special ladies were chosen to be part of the first Breeding Group, and at the end of the day we introduced our ram, Herbert, to this carefully selected flock. The rest of our ewes and the remaining lambs from last year, all went to a new paddock with the llamas to watch over them!
Herbert, the ram, has been a very busy boy for the past two weeks. Nearly all of the ewes in with him have been bred. You might be wondering “why this matters?”…well, it matters because we are going to have LAMBS at the end of JUNE! This year, we are hoping to introduce a new lambing-volunteer program so if you are interested, please stay tuned!
Grass in December…
///////// Tuesday, December 22, 2015
It’s December and we still have grass! This simple fact may seem like an odd one to celebrate but we delight in the chance to keep our ladies out on grass a bit longer. Keeping our girls on grass for as long as possible during the winter months ensures that they get the best nutrition, and right now they are plump, woolly, and munching on brome, orchard grass, timothy, fescue, and a smattering of other grasses that fill our fields.
Every day we are continuing to move the ladies from pasture to pasture. This video is from a couple weeks ago, as we moved the girls to our neighbors land…
Why do we practice grass-based dairying? The nutrition present in grass keeps our ladies in peak condition year-round, particularly for our older girls who find it difficult to chew and digest hay. The milk from animals fed a grass-based diet has flavors and nutrition that directly affects our cheeses. We love that our cheeses change with the seasons and much of that is due to the grasses our sheep are eating.
In addition to the comfort and health of our animals and the flavors in their milk, grass-based dairying is more environmentally sustainable. Our grazing practices protect our soil ecosystem preventing soil erosion, protecting our water shed and trapping carbon in the soil. (For more about how carefully managed grazing can help with climate change go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxqBzrx9yIE). Our pastures nourish our sheep, add flavor to our milk and cheese and help sustain our community in many ways. And this is why we call our farm Green Dirt!
Hanukkah Latkes with Fresh Cheese
///////// Thursday, December 10, 2015
Hanukkah has begun! The time of year when candles are lit for 8 days, chocolate gelt is won with the spin of a dreidel, and Latkes are made. Latkes are the fried potato pancakes that are a Hanukkah staple. This year we did a little experiment in the kitchen, adding in some Green Dirt Farm Fresh cheese to our Latke recipe. The result was traditional Latkes with a little kick of extra flavor. Any flavor of Fresh cheese will work for this recipe, but we chose Garlic and Peppercorn.
This recipe has been adapted from Martha Stewart. To see the original, click here.
4 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 small white onion, finely grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup beer
4 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 Tbsp coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. (1 tub) Green Dirt Farm Fresh Cheese
Vegetable oil for frying
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grate potatoes in long strips, using smooth strokes to run potatoes across grater into a large bowl of ice water. Using a strainer or slotted spoon, transfer potatoes, reserving liquid, to another large bowl lined with a clean kitchen towel or cheese cloth; gently squeeze dry.
2. Set reserved liquid aside for 10 minutes to allow starch to sink to the bottom; carefully pour liquid from the bowl, reserving milky residue (potato starch) and discard. Transfer potatoes back to bowl with potato starch.
3. Add grated onion to bowl; stir in eggs, beer, 3 Tbsp of flour, salt, and pepper. Mix together using your fingers to mix in the ingredients. Add the Fresh cheese, thoroughly mix into the potatoes. Slowly add 1 Tbsp of flour a little bit at a time as you mix in the cheese.
4. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1/4-inch of oil. Spoon 1 or 2 tbsp of potato mixture per pancake into a skillet. Make a few at a time, being careful they don’t run into each other.
5. Fry on both sides until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheet to drain. Keep warm in the oven while preparing the others.
If you do not keep kosher, we highly recommend frying your Latkes in goose or bacon fat (particularly if you have some leftover from Thanksgiving). Serve hot with applesauce, crème fraîche, or sour cream. Enjoy! Happy Hanukkah!
Welcome to the new GDF
///////// Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Green Dirt Farm gets an updated look! We are currently in the process of polishing our new website and online store, so keep checking back for the latest and greatest. In the meantime, poke around our “buy online” section and find the perfect cheese collection for your upcoming get together.