We caught up with Leah, one of the makers of Smith’s Country Cheese, to learn more about their cheese.
Specialty Foods Boston: What made you decide to go into cheesemaking?
Smith’s Country Cheese: We (The Catlin Family: Two brothers: Mike and Jake Catlin, and their wives, Leah, and Allie Catlin ) bought the farm from the Smith Family almost three years ago. We had NO experience in cheese making or dairy farming but wanted a better way of life for our families. To make a very long story short, we left our jobs, sold our homes, and bought a farm! The Smiths taught us how to make cheese and care for the cows, and we’ve spent the past few years working very hard to improve the quality of our cheeses.
SFB: Anything you wish chefs (and servers, and consumers) realized about your product that they might not know?
SCC: We test every batch of cheese at a food safety lab for pathogens before we sell it. This way, you get the health and flavor benefits of a raw milk cheese with the comfort of knowing it’s safe too! We make a lot of different, unique flavors of cheese (i.e. Chive or Chili Pepper Cheddar, Everything Bagel or Cumin Gouda, etc.). Also, our cheeses have a great shelf life are very versatile: they melt well, they work wonderfully on a cheese board and shred well too.
SFB: What do you wish people realized about the commercial/commodity/mass- or a factory-produced version of your product that they probably don’t?
SCC: Unlike mass-produced cheeses, our cheeses are made exclusively with the raw, delicious milk from our own dairy farm. Our cheeses are free of additives, coloring, hormones, and antibiotics. Each batch is hand-made by our family. Additionally, we use a lot of solar energy to produce our product: 70% of our hot water and 30% of our electric needs are met with solar energy from our farm.
SFB: What are your hopes for the future of your field?
SCC: We hope to see more collaboration and community-building among other cheese makers. No matter how long you’ve been making cheese, there is always something new about the industry to learn from others.A. Hearn - SFB - 1