This month’s special cheese is Swallow Tail Tomme, Stony Pond Farm, Enosburg Falls, Vermont
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.
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.
Check out these recipes below and more can be found here.
Swallow Tail Tomme Tartiflette
- 1.2kg potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 200g smoked lardons (or smoked bacon cut into small pieces)
- 2 large pink or red onions, peeled and diced (or 10 pink shallots)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
- 150 mls dry white wine
- 1 pound Swallow Tail Tomme, sliced/cubed or shredded
- 6 tablespoons crème fraiche
- salt and pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6 and butter an oven-proof gratin dish or shallow casserole dish.
2. Boil the potatoes until just soft. Drain them and allow them to cool before cutting them into slices.
3. Meanwhile, fry the lardons (or bacon pieces), onions and garlic until the lardons are crisp and the onions and garlic are soft and translucent.
4. Add half of the wine to the lardons and onion mixture, turn the heat up and de- glaze the wine for 2 to 3 minutes until half of it has cooked down with the other ingredients.
5. Add the cooked potatoes to the lardon and onion mixture and gently mix together. Spoon half of the mixture into the prepared dish.
6. Cut, slice, or shred the Swallow Tail Tomme.
7. Scatter half of the cheese cubes over the lardon and onion mix ture, crust side up, then spoon the remaining lardon and onion mixture over the top. Pour over the remaining wine and spoon the crème fraiche over the top. Season with salt (not too much as the lardons are salty) and pepper.
8. Scatter the rest of the cheese cubes over the top, crust side up again, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese has melted and the tartiflette is golden brown and bubbling.
9. Serve hot from the oven with salad, cornichons (gherkins), pickled onions, charcuterie and crusty bread.
- 1 loaf dark, seedy rye bread sliced thin 8 oz butter, softened
- 1⁄2 lb. sliced roast beef
- 1⁄2 lb. thinly sliced Swallow Tail Tomme 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 jar cornichons prepared horseradish
Spread butter on rye bread; top bread with two slices of roast beef and a slice of Swallow Tail Tomme. Add cornichons and slices of red onion. Top with horseradish.
The beauty of smørrebrød is how adaptable it is; don’t like horseradish, leave it off! Don’t have any roast beef, but do have leftover meat loaf, switch it up!
However, never use your hands to eat smørrebrød (unless you want to wear it) a fork and knife are the way to go.
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.