The Prairies are a Bloomin: Prairie Cheeses
Prairies here, prairies there, Prairies Blooming everywhere. It seems that every which way I turn these days, I get word of a prairie doing something. Active little buggers. Being the perfect home for succulent, tiny Pinnated Grouses -i.e prairie chickens- in Mark Twain's Feast. Offering mineral rich land for cattle to graze on in places like Nebraska. Offering its name up for a soft cheese called Prairie Bloom. Offering its name up for another soft cheese called Prairie Bloom.
Wait, two creamy cheeses with the same name?
At first I thought my week had gotten to me. On my four days off from my day job managing a wine bar, I wrote an article on soufflés for Cheese Connoisseur and created an original soufflé recipe for their spring issue. I might have gotten a cheese headache from how much I ate for recipe testing (and beyond). I'm writing up my first article for Kinfolk magazine. I had a call with my book agent about promotion and marketing and marketing and promotion (eek) and am expecting my manuscript back any day now (take your time, lovely editor). So, I thought, it was likely that I just thought there were two cheeses named Prairie Bloom because I was overwhelmed. I mean, hey, why, not? It's a great name.
Nope. There are two of them! Plus, another similarly named one mentioned below.
I've only tasted one of them (photo above). This one is made by Branched Oak Farm in Nebraska. They're an organic creamery run by the Dittman family, and you haven't heard the last about them from me- I'm featuring another one of their cheeses in my book. About six years ago they started out as a meat and poultry farm. Then, their CSA members asked them to start selling milk. They did. Next up? You guessed it. Cheese. They fell in love with being dairy farmers and cheesemakers so that that they almost entirely swtiched over from meat production (they only sell chickens now).
Their Prairie Bloom cheese is a camembert style that never fails to charm. It's cow's milk, spreadable, milky, clean tasting, and a little buttery. It's refined comfort cheese. It's going in the cheese club I run at Solano Cellars soon.
But I never tried the other Prairie Bloom from Goatsbeard Farm in Harrisburg Missouri. This one is goat's milk. There's even another goat's milk cheese called Little Bloom on the Prairie from Prairie Fruits Farm in Illinois. Haven't tried that one either.
Have you had a chance to try any of these beauties around you? Or, have you spotted another prairie themed cheese near you?