Each month, your Neighboring Food Co-ops feature our region’s artisan cheesemakers by offering a specially selected cheese at a great price. Look for the “Cave to Co-op” sign in the cheese section at your local food co-op. To find one near you, visit www.nfca.coop/members.
This Month’s Selection:
SWALLOW TAIL TOMME, STONY POND FARM, ENOSBURG FALLS, VT
a raw milk, natural rind farmer’s cheese
Stony Pond Farm is a 260 acre certified organic, first generation farm owned and operated by Tyler and Melanie Webb in Enosburg Falls, Vermont. When Tyler bought the farm in 2004 it was run down, had poor pastures, and no roads; it was exactly what he was looking for. After a stint at a large conventional farm and then for the National Resource Conservation Service of the USDA he realized that the conventional methods were not the path he wanted to take. It took sitting in at organic grazing meetings at conferences to put him on the path to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and that particular run down farm.
By 2007 Tyler had a herd of cattle, had built miles of fences, and was bringing the land back to life. To earn money, he was selling frozen grass-fed beef and selling cheeseburgers at Burlington’s Farmers Market; one week a photographer from Brooklyn was visiting friends and stopped to grab a burger. Melanie is a graduate from Carnegie Mellon and brings both business acumen and creative flair to Stony Pond. Leaving the city behind, but not her cameras, she moved to the Green Mountains and hasn’t looked back. In addition to working for a non-profit that does advocacy for people with disabilities, and publicizing local biodynamic communities, Melanie’s also a full time mom to Willow and Wyatt.
People looking at Stony Pond Farm’s cattle might come away scratching their heads. The mix of breeds is a little strange for most New England farms. There are Jerseys, Devons, and British White mixed together. The calves are even more unique. The milk comes from the pretty faced Jerseys and some of the Devons, giving plentiful and rich milk, which until summer of 2019 was sold to Organic Valley. A lifelong dream of making cheese had Melanie and Tyler converting an un-used part of their property into a cheesemaking room and another into an aging room where cheese is made 2-3 times a week.
If you were to ask a cheese pro what a Tomme is they’d likely give an answer along the lines of: it’s a small format natural rind farmer’s cheese. Another answer might be: Tommes refer to small cheeses made in the summer months while the ruminants are out eating fresh grass. Both definitions would apply to Swallow Tail Tomme.
Swallow Tail Tomme is named after swallows that swoop and dive over the fields at Stony Pond, controlling pests that would bother cow and human alike. Made using raw milk from a single milking, than aging for an average of ninety days, this cheese is a time capsule of the organic fields spring through early fall.
Swallow Tail Tomme Tartlettes
- 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 oz butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 7 oz small potatoes (peeled weight)
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup double cream
- 3.5 oz chestnut or white mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 oz Swallow Tail Tomme, grated
- shortcrust pastry
- Put the dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover with freshly boiled water. Set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll the pastry out to about ¼ inch thick and line either two 4 inch or deep individual muffin tins or one 8 inch tart tin. Press the pastry right into the edges of the tins, so it comes ¼ inch above the tops of the tins. Prick the bases here and there with a fork, then chill for 20 minutes.
- Put a baking tray into the oven and preheat it to 400°F. Bake the pastry cases blind for approx 15 mins. Then set aside while you make the filling.
- For the filling, melt half of the butter in a medium pan, add the onion, cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Uncover, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Cut the potatoes into ¼ inch thick slices, then add them to the pan with the milk, cream and some seasoning.
- Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, stirring carefully every now and then until the potatoes are tender. (Be careful they don’t catch on the bottom of the pan.)
- Meanwhile, drain the dried mushrooms, squeeze out the excess water, then chop them quite finely.
- Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan, add the soaked dried mushrooms and the fresh mushrooms and fry briskly for 3 minutes until tender and any excess liquid has evaporated but the mixture remains moist. Season lightly.
- When the potatoes are tender, stir in half the grated Swallow Tail Tomme and season to taste.
- Spoon half the potato mixture into the bases of the tartlet cases, then cover with the mushroom mixture. Spoon the remaining potato mixture on top, then sprinkle with the rest of the grated Swallow Tail Tomme. Bake on the baking tray for 10-15 minutes until the tarts are golden and bubbling.
These tarts if made individually would make a great canapé to serve with aperitifs, a
larger one would make a lovely light lunch with a fresh green salad.
Cave to Co-op is a partnership between Provision International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) to support local, artisanal cheese producers in our region and make their products more easily available to co-op shoppers. The NFCA is a network of more than 40 food co-ops in our region — including yours — that are working together to advance their vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. For more information, please visit www.nfca.coop.