Terroir-The taste of the land
We were standing around the barn enjoying beers and some storytelling with a friend from Greece. The goats were all in their stalls for the night, softly chewing on hay. It was so quiet, they may have been listening too. It was one of those perfect summer moments that you know you will look back on when the snow is piled up outside. In the darkness of the barn he shared a tradition from his village. Each year in the weeks the garlic scapes appear, the dairy goat herds are let out to graze on these tasty aromatic flowers. (This helps the farmers because the scapes have to be cut anyway to allow the energy to go into the garlic bulb.) The resulting cheese is a treat that people wait all year for and come great distances to enjoy. My mouth watered just listening to him. I have ever since drifted back to visions of goats munching on fields of garlic along the Mediterranean Blue sea. I can taste the beauty of this place, this fleeting season.
I’ve read that monks in Burgundy used to taste the soil to get sense of what it might bring to their grapes. I like to imagine them bent to the rolling hills, their dark robes flowing as they touched the dirt to their lips and tasted a hymn: a mix of the pleasant winds off warm southern waters, heather, broom and bracken, the tracks of red deer and wild boar and the tears of monks before them who tended the land with quiet dignity.
What then do people taste in Maine chèvre? We want to produce a cheese that tastes like summer: fresh, memorable, and as simply delicious as a summer day spent with friends. I like to think you can taste the perfume of the Maine coast, just miles away, the feeling of an apple just cut open at one of the orchards just down the road, the wistful call of a pair of Barred Owls. I hope it evokes freshly cut hay in the fields which surround the farm and the warm and trusting spirit of the animals who make the milk.