While it’s usually tough to put into words such a heartfelt admiration and affection, to explain how one came to be bowled over by a product that’s simple milk, salt, cultures, rennet, and artistry, that is not the case here. There are nine clear-cut reasons cheese has soared in local estimates, and many, many disciples and artisans willing to speak on the record about why fromage is so fabulous:
And here’s information on one of Blackberry Farm’s (Knoxville) Cheeses
Blackberry Blue Cheese
Our Blue Cheese at Blackberry Farm is a project that continues to grow and evolve…literally! Blue Cheese at Blackberry Farm is a fungus called penicillium roqueforti. It’s an extremely evasive mold that loves warm temperatures and humid environments. Penicillium roqueforti is so evasive we cannot make it at the same time we make our very delicate fresh cheeses, so we have chosen a different path entirely. We make it out of local cow’s milk in the winter time. That might not seem that strange to some that don’t know us, but we make all our cheeses out of sheep’s milk. We choose to let our sheep breed naturally and so we only get sheep’s milk about 7-8 months out of the year. This said, the other 4 months we have an entire cheese making facility sitting there dormant so we have found a local cow’s milk dairy that produces wonderful Jersey cow’s milk. Jersey cow’s milk is very high in fat and protein (nothing compared to our sheep but that’s a different story) and lends itself for a very beautiful buttery blue cheese! This blue cheese is a raw milk cheese. We allow it to age for at least 60 days by law but usually closer to 90 days for flavor. Another very interesting topic about blue cheese that a lot of people don’t realize is that the blue veins in the cheese are due to the reaction of the fungus with oxygen. So we let the blue cheese age for 30-40 days and then go in and pierce a bunch of tiny holes into the cheese and this piercing is what allows the oxygen into the cheese and then the veins form. I believe our blue cheese is very good served simply with good honey and lavosh, but I must selfishly admit I love roasting off baby potatoes and pouring our mushroom ketchup on top and then melting the blue cheese!
Dustin Busby, Farmstead Manager