This month’s special cheese is Red Sky, Sweet Rowan Farmstead, Glover, Vermont
Sweet Rowen Farmstead is a grass-based, family owned and operated dairy farm located in Vermont’s beautiful North East Kingdom, about 20 miles south of the Canadian border. The barn is situated between woodlands and several rich fields where they rotate pasture and cut their own hay.
While not currently certified organic, all of the hay they grow and cut themselves is organic, as well as the pastures on which the cows graze. They do feed the cows a small amount of non-GMO grain to ensure that their diet is as healthful as possible. That grain is not always certified organic; organic grain is very expensive and they prefer to keep their milk costs accessible while treating the cows the best as they can. Many of their other farming practices meet organic standards, often going above and beyond to ensure the most responsible stewardship of the environment. In addition, Sweet Rowen considers the cows to be family and they want to be able to treat them if they ever become critically ill.
Cheesemaker Paul Lisai tends and milks the herd of Holstein and Randall Linebeck cows, a true Vermont heritage breed. The farm began selling milk in 2011, bottling a small volume each week at a rented facility in Albany, VT. In September of hat year, the bottling room was lost in a devastating fire, forcing the farm to reconsider their options. A decision was made to build a creamery on the family land, enabling the farm to bottle all of the milk on-site and sell it locally. The creamery opened in May of 2012 and is now not just bottling milk but cranking out small batches of delicious cheese.
Red Sky is made in the molds that held Jasper Hill Dairy’s legendary Constant Bliss. Red Sky is made with slow pasteurized farmstead cow milk in a diminutive snowy white drum that is hiding a dusting of smoked paprika. Pristine and delicious with a slightly dense texture and a luscious, creamy taste, Red Sky has a warm and slightly spicy finish.
- 2 cups dried macaroni
- ¼ cup diced cooking chorizo
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 10 oz cream
- ½ pound Red Sky, rind removed (be careful not to cut too much off) and diced
- 3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
- salad leaves, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cook the macaroni in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 7 minutes, until al dente. Drain and return to the pan.
- Meanwhile, dry-fry the chorizo in a frying pan for 5 minutes until it has browned and the fat is released. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the frying pan and cook gently for 5 minutes until soft.
- Stir the crisped chorizo and the onion mixture into the drained macaroni, adding the cream, half of the diced Red Sky and a little salt and pepper. Heat gently, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until everything is warmed through and the cheese has melted.
- Spoon the mixture into four 12 oz ovenproof dishes, or a 7×7 inch baking dish with a capacity of around 6 cups. Dot with the remaining Red Sky and scatter over the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve with a crisp green salad on the side.
Fried Red Sky
- 1 wheel of Red Sky
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- To ensure the Red Sky holds up to frying, place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes or until thoroughly chilled. We like cutting it in half (like a burger bun) for better coating-to-cheese ratio.
- Meanwhile, pour vegetable oil into the deep fryer up to the “maximum” fill line (or halfway up the sides, if using a regular heavy-bottomed saucepan). Preheat to 375ºF.
- Set up your breading line – a plate of flour, a bowl of egg, and a bowl of breadcrumbs. Dredge the Red Sky in flour until lightly coated, then dip first into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs. Dip a second time into the egg, then again into the breadcrumbs to create a good, solid coating around the Red Sky.
- Deep fry the breaded Red Sky in preheated oil for 2-3 minutes, or until the coating is golden and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove it from the hot oil and transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towel to drain for a minute or two.
- Place the Fried Red Sky on a pretty serving plate or cheese board, and spoon your favorite preserves or chutney into a small bowl. Serve immediately with plates of crackers, petite toast and/or thin slices of fresh sourdough to accompany.
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.