Postcard: Cheesemaking at Sprout Creek Farm

When I was a little girl, I used to fancy that I was Laura Ingalls in _Little House in the Big Woods, churning my own butter and frying crackling — despite not really knowing what crackling was. Last month, I visited Sprout Creek Farm, a working farm, creamery, and educational center in upstate New York, and watched a version of my dream come true. I didn't get to make cheese myself, but along with a small group, I toured the facility and watched Head Cheese Maker Colin McGrath at work, blending Sprout Creek's own milk with rennet and lactic bacteria to stimulate fermentation. After the curds are separated from the whey, the cheeses are cooked and set in molds; once they're firm, McGrath salts the cheeses or puts them into a briny bath to cure. Once they're rinsed and dried, they go into one of the three ripening rooms, where they sit in humid, cave-like environments — turned and washed by McGrath as they age—until they are ready to go to the market._ —Sarah Bray

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