Monday, October 7, 2013

A Visit to Holton Hollow Farm

Over the weekend me and the kids took a drive to visit Holton Hollow farm, near Statesville NC. I had tasted the cheese at the Clemmon's farmers market and enjoyed it. I often see my dietitian colleagues going on sponsored farm tours of orchards, dairies and never seem to get an invite so I figured why not simply start calling farmers and asking if I can visit. Its such a joy to learn from the farmer how they operate, make cheese or grow produce. Its also wonderful for the kids to see where food comes from and meet the animals. The kids enjoyed the chickens and the adorable calf. They loved sitting on the tractor in fact I could't get them to come down.

Jeff and Debbie Holton have been making cheese for the last 3 years, but Jeff has had Jersey cows most of his life as a dairy farmer, he used to have 40-50 and now just 8. He took some cheese making classes and through passion and trial and error, now makes wonderful farmstead cheese on Holton Hollow Farm . Its similar to a mild cheddar, smooth and creamy. The Jersey cow has a higher fat and protein content and a lovely richness to it. 
Here is Jeff in the small milking room 
This is the room where the cheese is made it is then wrapped in wax and stored in a cooler. The milk is added to the vats, heated and mixed with rennet to thicken, it contains no additives or dyes and is all handcrafted. To me it seems like the way it was made way back and how food should be made with love and a passion to make something unique. 

This is lucy the calf, so adorable and her Mum is in the pen next to her. In order for cows to produce milk they need to have a baby, the baby is then kept away but I love how Jeff and Debbie care for their cows. They are all close by and have access to green rolling hills to graze on. They also all have names and seem to be part of the family.

The kids were fascinated by the chickens :-) 

Here is the cheese, one of the cool things about it is that its taste changes depending on the season and what the cows ate. Jeff mentioned that a chef in Charlotte loves their cheese and all his staff gather round when a new wheel is broken into to sample it. 

Like any new start up its a struggle, they sell in various farmers markets, such as peach tree in Bermuda Run, Salisbury and Reynolda in Winston salem. They also sell at local vineyards and even once made a cheese infused with a North Carolina wine. They are in the process of setting up a website and hope to ship so then more folks can enjoy it. 

So if you would like to visit a farm, simple call, it was a lovely couple of hours of learning and appreciating the hard work and dedication that goes into our food. 

Have you visited any farms in your area?

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