Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What a week!

This week I had the honor of being a guest on KMOV TV, St. Louis.  It was great to share Missouri cheese from Baetje Farm, Goatsbeard Farm and Green Dirt Farm.  The host, Carol, loved all the cheese!  The cheeses were paired with wine from my neck of the woods.  Hermannhof Winery provided the fruit of the vine for the show.

Fast forward and here I am at the Ozark Folk School.  City gal one day, country girl the next.  Gotta love it!  Here at the Folk School, I'll be teaching cheesemaking for the next three days.  Can't wait to meet everyone and have fun making cheese together.

My plans include a couple of special treats for the class.  We will have goat cheese truffles (oh my) for our tasting and then a classic fondue on Saturday.  Can't wait to share this!  I do have so much fun sharing the world of cheese with the people I meet along the way.  

BTW  flowers are blooming here!  What a relief.  Spring is drawing nigh.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The book is now available

If anyone had told me when I started making my humble cheese 20 years ago that this day would come, I would never have believed them!  My book is now available!  "Homemade Cheese" is available through my publisher, Voyageur Press, and all major booksellers!  I've laughed and cried as I reviewed the pages and remembered all the early days of my experiences as a farmer. 

Not only will you find cheese making recipes and complete step by step how-to's, you'll read the wonderful stories of cheesemakers across the United States.  What an honor to tell their stories.  Visit to preview the book online.

Remember this book is written for the home cheesemaker, by a home cheesemaker.  Very little is required in the way of special equipment.  If you have a homestead goat or cow or if you are looking for a new gourmet experience....this is the guide for you!  

Happy cheesemaking!  Janet

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

December 23rd:  The stockings are hung, tree lit, goodies baked - mission accomplished.  As a look at gifts yet to be distributed I see an amazing thing, most are from our own stores.  There are homemade pickles and relish; pepper, elderberry and grape jellies; pickled beets; chow chow; homemade breads; cookies and cinnamon rolls.  Dozens of fresh eggs will finish the baskets and boxes going to friends and family.  We are to the point where no one needs anything and everyone buys what they want, so this year, we've chosen to give a gift unique to our farm.  Oh, I forgot to mention we still have lettuce in the high tunnel and a bit of Brie to share! It's quite an amazing array for a little backyard farm. 

We are blessed, as a family, a people and a nation.  To have more than enough is a true gift. I wish the same for all of you - more than enough.  Find it in the simple things; the moments spent in front of the fire, scratching the dog; covered up with a favorite quilt on a cold winter morning; a cup of hot coffee warm between your hands, a full pantry and a good wood pile.  Now that's livin'!

"I come in the little things," saith the Lord.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Seasons Greetings

Where have the months gone?  Here we are in mid December, only a couple of more weeks until the new year.  Like all of you, I'm in the midst of Christmas preparations.  Today is a day for baking bread and making pepper jelly.  The house smells heavenly.  The pepper jelly will be the perfect compliment for the Brie aging in the cellar.  This time of year is perfect for low tech aging.  Just keep your cheese in a cool windowsill, away from the kitties, of course.  The cool temperatures coming from the outside, are just about perfect for aging brie in a ziplock bag.  Remember when people started making cheese, there were no perfectly managed conditions.  Cheesemakers worked with the climate, the time of year and the tools available to them.  We can still do the same.  Hope you are enjoying the season. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


It's hard to believe more than a month has passed by sent a posted anything to my blog.  September went by in a blur!  I've been trying to slow down a bit, to spend time outside, instead of at the desk.  My cat reminded me the other day that life is too busy when you don't have time to pet the cat.  She and I spent some quality time together today! This lovely autumn day is a perfect time to enjoy what is sure to be a limited quantity - a beautiful Fall afternoon.  Yesterday I made cheese all day at an outdoor event.  It is always fun to show people how quickly cheese can come together.  Most shake their heads and say, "You know, I've never seen that done!"  So I go along on my travels, spreading the news of cheese.  I've got some extra milk, so I'm going to make butter and then some Brie.  Jersey milk reigns supreme!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

End of Summer

Labor Day has long been associated with the end of Summer.  It is hard to say how quickly those months pass, but it is usually at an alarming rate.  I am taking advantage of an extra day away from work to do some "homesteading" tasks.  Pickles.  Lots of cucumbers coming on with the cooler weather, sweet peppers, too and the garlic has been harvested and hung to dry.  I roasted some in the oven last week and it was sweet and nutty, the pefect spread for a piece of homemade bread.  Hubby stopped and gathered elderberries, too.  I cooked down the juice last week and will attempt to make jelly from them today. They are always a little tricky to get to gel, but we'll give it a try.  No better jelly than elderberry.  I love the concept of free food, too.  Of course, you have the cost of the sugar and the pectin, but the raw material is free for the taking.  Mind those road side stands of elderberry that have been sprayed all Summer.  Look for those off the road. 

I have Carol King playing on the CD player at the moment, to be followed by James Taylor and Phoebe Snow.   If that doesn't date me, I don't know what does! Music has the power to take you back to a particular age, a moment, a day in time.   So, I'm here in the country listening to the songs of my youth and thinking; you know, it has turned out ok.  We've got a little piece of land to call our own, food in the pantry and gas in the truck.  All things to be grateful for! 

As I finish with the cucumbers, the next thing on the list is to soak sycamore leaves and grape leaves in brandy.  This is a traditional means of aging French cheese, in particular the Banon.  Can't wait to see how this turns out.

 I think the concept of Labor Day is a day of rest for those who labor but rest comes in different forms for different folks.  I do have a good book tucked away for later, after the pickling is finished.   Sounds like a great day to me, the mint tea is brewing, music playing and bread raising.  Heaven on earth.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Where has Summer gone?

Isn't it hard to believe it is just about September? It was not a good Summer in the garden. We had low production levels, in spite of our new raised beds. Even the tomatoes were in short supply. I just replanted lettuce, green beans and beets for Fall crops. Hope springs eternal.

We did pick a few apples yesterday.  This is the first year our trees had fruit.  That was a big day!  I made a pie. 

My cheesemaking classes are still going strong. We finished another 5 weeks in Hermann last week. I always meet the best people in my classes :) I just wrote a piece about how much I learn from my students. Here in the Hermann area, so many have spoken to me about cheese their grandmothers made. I've done some research to find out what kind of cheese they are speaking of.  I believe it is Kochkasse, a cooked German cheese.  I think cheesemaking draws an off beat group - one of the reasons I like it so much.  I meet artists, people who wish to be more self sufficient, foodies and those with goats or cows.  My kind of folks!  

Try a late season treat - fresh mozzarella with fresh basil, layered with tomatoes, drizzle a little olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, a dash of salt and then enjoy with warm bread.  Oh my!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A New Feature - Followers!

If you would like to keep updated on the inpursuit of cheese blog, please join the followers list.
Thanks!  Janet

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Good Day at the Fair!

Today was the big day - the cheesemaking demo at the State Fair. I talked a bit on my Missouri cheesemaker friends and then went on to make a fresh mozzarella. The first one wasn't all I had hoped for but the second one turned out fine. Several people stopped by for the demonstration. It was an honor to be at the fair.

My husband and I enjoyed the day and went to all the sites including the rabbit barn. What an array of beautiful animals. Then we watched the dogs doing tricks. Amazing. Then on to the Childrens' Barn, my favorite place.  Burros, cows, sheep, pigs, a goat or two, even a puppy and kittens.  I don't think you are ever too old to go to the childrens' zoo.  I remember,  at the height of my goat career, people would always share stories about their experiences with goats at the petting zoos.  Some good - some not so good!  You can imagine the tales. 

We had to share a funnel cake before we left. Oh my.   Diet tomorrow (which is what I always say) :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Just to let you know, I had a total flop yesterday! I was going for chevre and for some reason I forgot and put in 1/4 tsp of rennet. I thought, oh well, I'll go ahead and drain it in a bag. It drained but it did not have the texture I was going for. So this morning I added some left over whey and used my mixer to blend in the whey. I made a big mess in my kitchen at 5:30 a.m. this morning, not a good way to begin the day. I was certain I had made a nice treat for my chickens. As I was going to carry it out to them I though hmmmmmm that looks interesting. I added some salt and tasted it. It is very close to cottage cheese! One of those happy accidents - good for me, bad for the chickens! They have a lot of whey from last night's class, so they'll be happy anyway. The Wed. night group had a full night of cheddar making. All went well. There are always different results. A few degrees of temperature can make a big difference.