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The Cheese Blog

 

Long Dream Farm: Long Horns, Rich Milk, Alpacas & Emus

Just a few hours after I sent my newsletter last November announcing my cheesemaking class business, a quiet little farm in Placer County, Long Dream Farm, sent me an email. Would you like to come and make cheese with us from the milk of our heritage breed cattle with long horns and funny white belts and rich milk, they asked? Yes! I answered.

This is a photo diary of my visit. I got to pet Scottish Highlands, meet the Hungarian pig that chefs are going crazy over, take home an emu egg, make mozzarella with three different types of raw milk, and talk to the Long Dream farmer owners Andrew and Krista about what led them from New York City to Placer County. Could have been the opportunity to raise beautiful calves like Kofi, below.

It was a wonderful day. I made cheese with wildly different milks - Dutch Belted and Jersey, and Dexter- with different butterfats, which effects how milk coagulates, curds form, and the flavor or the mozzarella. This of course was awesome enough. But walking the farm was even cooler, which I had plenty of time to do (thank you, Andrew, for giving me an extra long tour because I accidentally showed up an hour early).

If you're in northern California you might be able to find Long Dream's free-range pastured eggs around the Sacramento area. Plus, Long Dream farm is actually a farmstay.

A few of the Long Dream chickens. They get to run around the acres and acres of farm before they're collected by the children at night and put back in their coop. The family sells out of their eggs every day and most are bought by local restaurants and whole foods markets.

A cream separator. I have big dreams for this. Long Dream is currently building on a creamery and I'm crossing my fingers this means cultured butter and fresh cheese very soon. They're working with Barbara Jenness (Nevada City Cheesemaker) to develop cheeses that fit best with their herd and land. Keep an eye out.

All of the cows have names at Long Dream Farm. Sometimes their ear fur is so long it covers up their name tags though. This one above just gave birth to Kofi.

Curious about Scottish Highland cows or want to read more about heritage breeds? Here's a little more on my blog by veterinarian Dr. Noreen Dmitri Called "Heritage Breed Milk Milk: Use it or Loose it."

Andrew and his wife moved from the east coast to become farmers. Physicist and former professor Andrew is now the herdsman. Former lawyer Krista is now the milker and soon-to-be buttermaker. Their children, Clara and Frodo below, are the chicken collectors. They make sure to put the birds away at night so they're safe in the morning.

The family also has emus. I got an egg! Any cooking suggestions?

These are their Mangalista pigs. These curly-haired Hungarian pigs (it's agreed that the family has a thing for animals with free-flowing locks) are a chef's best friend. In a cooking sort of way.

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After the cows, the friendliest animal on the farm (the alpaca, not me).

Their uber-friendly Jersey. Legit is a nuzzler and likes mud.

Dutch Belteds, and a babe that was born a month early but is now super healthy.

Thank you for letting me play with your wonderful milk and pose with your cows, Andrew, Krista, Clara and Frodo!