Thursday, June 20, 2013

Local Cheese, a Weekend Day Trip and a Little Story to Make You Proud.

The weekend is going to be beautiful, perfect for a family day trip to Valley Shepherd Creamery, where they make delicious cave-aged cheese.  Here is a little story about their cheese that will make you very proud (the whole story appears in Locavore Adventures).

Jim and Eran Wajswol, the farm’s founder and owner were sitting on the patio at Tre Piani, discussing cheese...
“Somewhere in middle of our freewheeling afternoon, one of my servers approached the table. She said that she had a customer who was visiting from Italy and, as is the European custom, craved a little cheese to cap his meal. What should she give him?  Eran sat up like he had just heard a fire alarm. “Here, let ‘em try this,” Eran said, like it was a challenge. Then he handed over a small chunk of his pecorino-style cheese...A few minutes later the server was back at our table. The customer wanted to know --- where was the cheese from?  “Tell him New Jersey,” I said. A minute later, she’s back. “I hate to tell you this,” she said, “but the customer is laughing at me. He wants to make sure he understood right. This cheese is from New Jersey?”
Not the thing to say in this company. Eran whipped out his business card like a gunslinger. “Here, give ‘em this,” he said, adding some choice words about who does this guy think he is, who can mess around with New Jersey cheese? A minute later, our Italian visitor is on the patio, covering us in a blast of hand shakes and cheerful apologies. “Mie scuse! “Forgive the mistake,” he said, “it tasted just like the pecorino made near my town. Then we looked at each other, grinned, and raised our mugs in a toast: Cheers to Eran’s own home-grown New Jersey pecorino, now with a seal of approval from the home country! Our new Tuscan buddy had confirmed what we had set out to do: offer the public memorable food that’s world-class quality but produced right here at home. As for me, I was over the top. I felt it was a very proud moment in the history of slow food in New Jersey.”

...And there is so much to see at the farm besides cheese.  Located on a hillside in Long Valley, it offers tours, kids activities, classes, shopping and all kinds of fun. Check out their website for more info, and don’t forget to come back with a delicious piece of local cheese! 
For those of you who stay home, come try Valley Shepherds Pepato on our menu!

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