PCG Member Michele Lamb has been making exquisite soft goat cheeses and feta cheese at her Bosky Acres Farm since 2007. Now, she wants to do the hard stuff, Gouda for example. To create hard cheeses, you need the right environment – and as our ancestors discovered 3000 years ago, there’s no better environment for aging cheeses than a cave.
Sadly, there are no caves on her six-acre plot in Waxhaw. But that’s not stopping Michele. She’s building one: a custom-made 8’x10′ concrete bunker, to be partially buried in a hillside on her farm.
The project has already begun, but it is an expensive undertaking, especially for a small farm owner. To help offset the costs, Michele is getting a little help from her PCG chef friends with a fundraising dinner to be held Saturday, November 8.
Hosted by her Waxhaw neighbors at Pecan Lane Farm, the dinner will feature the culinary talents of Paul Verica of Heritage Food and Drink, Joseph Bonaparte of The Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach, Ashley Boyd of 300 East, Terra Ciotta of the Art Institute of Charlotte, and Matthew Krenz of The Asbury.
“It (cheese) is a fermented food and there’s live microbial action,” Michele explains, “so you have to create an environment that makes that beneficial bacteria happy, so that it’s going to be live and active and eating all that lactose, making it into lactic acid. That’s where you get your flavor, when those little organisms are working on the proteins and the sugars in the milk.”
“Rather than using machines to create the controlled environment needed to age cheese, we plan to bury a cheese cave in the ground in order to naturally maintain the correct temperature and humidity.”
While a cave is not necessary for the soft cheeses she’s currently producing, Michele is yearning to take the next step. “I want to do a hard cheese, hopefully a Gouda. It’s traditionally made with cow, but goat gouda is mild and nutty and it’s really good. I’d like to age it for three months. We’re hoping to finish the cave by the end of November.”
Bosky Acres Farm is also expanding its animal sourcing. In addition to the goats she raises on the farm, Michele has recently been experimenting with grass-fed milk from Guernsey Girl Farm in Shelby, NC.
“We’re going to make French Neufchâtel and maybe a Gouda,” she says. “I’m just going to play, just going to enjoy it and try some new things. Do a lot of trial and error. This time of year, it’s a really great time to do that because we’re not as busy.” (The goats are currently “with child”, so goat cheese production is halted until Spring.)
The Bosky Acres Farm Dinner with feature multi-course meal of locally sourced foods (including Bosky Acres cheese) along with fine wine pairings. Tickets are $125.00. For additional info, go to the Bosky Acres Cave Project website.
For more insights about the dinner and what Michele Lamb is doing at Bosky Acres, check out Guild member Alison Leininger’s article in Creative Loafing.