This month’s special cheese is Swallowtail, Stony Pond Farm, Enosburg Falls, Vermont
Each month, your Neighboring Food Co-ops feature our region’s artisan cheesemakers by offering a specially selected cheese at 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.
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 the conventional methods were not the path he wanted to take. It took sitting in at organic grazing meetings at conferences to point him towards 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 fence, and was bringing the land back to life. To earn money, he was selling frozen grass-fed beef alongside 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 of 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 advocates for people with disabilities, and along with promoting local biodynamic communities, Melanie’s also 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, then aging for an average of ninety days, this cheese is a time capsule of the organic fields spring through early fall.
• 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2” chunks
• Kosher salt
• Grapeseed, olive or sunflower oil
• Leaves from 1 small bunch sage
• 1 thyme or lemon thyme sprig
• ¼ cup heavy cream
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
• 1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
• Large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
• 8 ounces grated mild cheese (cheddar or alpine works well)
• 5 ounces Swallow Tail Tomme, rind removed, cubed
- In a medium pot, cover the potatoes and a generous amount of salt with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain but don’t wash out the pot. (You’ll need it again later.)
- Meanwhile, fry the sage leaves: Line a plate with a paper towel. In a small skillet, heat 1/4-inch of oil. Add sage leaves a few at a time, and fry until golden and crisp, usually about 1 minute or so. Use a slotted spoon to transfer fried leaves to the paper- towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining sage leaves, adding more oil to the pan if needed.
- In a small pot over medium heat, add the thyme and cream, and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and cover until needed.
- Transfer the cooked potatoes to a food processor, and pulse just until mashed. Or pass potatoes through a food mill or large-holed sieve to mash.
- Return potatoes to their cooking pot and set it over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in butter, garlic and nutmeg until the butter melts.
- Remove thyme sprig from the cream. Stir the cream into the potatoes, then stir in the cheese, a handful at a time, until melted and stringy. Serve immediately, topped with the fried sage leaves.
- 6 small pumpkins
- 7oz of olive oil
- 1 branch of thyme
- 21 oz of Swallow Tail Tomme
- 8.5 oz of chicken broth
- 7 oz of cream
- From the top, open the pumpkins, removing the seeds. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the pumpkins on a plate, sprinkle with oil, season them. Sprinkle thyme over it and bake for 30 minutes. Then cover with foil and finish cooking for 15 min at 350°F.
- Remove the rind from cheese and cut into small pieces. Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the cream and reduce slightly, pepper well. Add the cheese and melt on low heat while stirring often.
- Remove the pumpkins in the oven and place one per plate.
- Pour the cheesy broth in the center of each and serve immediately.
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.