Cheese Lovers Newsletter (3.14.2021): It's GREEN curd week!

Cheese Lovers Newsletter (3.14.2021): It's GREEN curd week!

Hey Cheese Lovers!

Welcome to summer (ok we skipped a season), improving COVID situations and Curd Fest 2021 (or 2020 postponed, if you’d rather) planning! In this issue we talk about Curd Fest, Grilled Cheese Boxes, Burgers and our state’s cheesemaking history.

Green Cheese Curd Week!
Happy St. Patrick's Day week - the week we make green cheese curds and after a one-year hiatus will return to the annual Padua Parade. It's always 1:00 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day, rain or shine. Want green curds? You can get them after Tuesday (but for Fargo order it wouldn't arrive until Thursday).

Operating Status: We are open!

Farm tours every Friday and Saturday at 12:30 p.m. from here forward

Open Noon to 2:30 p.m. … come meet our new panini maker


Order by Tuesday at midnight this week for Thursday, March 18, delivery to Fargo, Moorhead, Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Perham and in-between

Next week, we’ll make cheese Monday for TUESDAY delivery to the Twin Cities – 169 to Mankato, and west to Marshall, Worthington and Sioux Falls

Shipments: Ship via UPS ordering by Wednesday noon

We are in full-on planning mode as the current guidance provides plenty of space for our business-as-normal-yet-distanced festival of all things curd outside. What we know we will have:

Two bands
Food Trucks
All your favorite cheese foods
Beverages that taste really good
Vendors from Minnesota food and craft companies

In the next few weeks we will begin pre-selling tickets. In effort to ensure that you feel good about your purchase, if we’d need to cancel the event we will turn tickets into gift cards in the case that we would need to shut down Curd Fest 2021 for COVID or weather reasons.

Grill or Be Grilled Cheese Boxes
One of the only good things about COVID is we’ve expanded our minds through our virtual learning, and our Grill or Be Grilled event is one benefit. If we were having this in person, we would have sold out by now. We will need to stop at some point, but for now we can probably double our current attendance.

We’ve seen the grills – here’s the beef: WE’VE LOWERED PRICES
It’s summertime. Without further ado, we’ve lowered our burger and patty prices to make room for the next harvest. Grab them now for just $4.50 per pound hamburger and $5.50 per pound for a two-pack of patties ($11)! If you’ve got an order currently on the way, we’ll refund you!
Get your burger patties or ground beef now.
RHC and Jer-Lindy Beef/Prepared Products Page

Question of the Week: Who started the first Minnesota Creamery?
Answer, part 1: We aren’t going to go there, because we don’t quite know and there are books to discover that. You could read through Land O’Lakes’ 50th anniversary book; “Men to remember; how 100,000 farmers made history,” or check out “Cooperative Commonwealth: Co-ops in Rural Minnesota, 1859-1939.” It gets you half way there.

But, we’ll skirt the question and make the question “Who was the first Creamery man in Minnesota?” Well, similar to us he came from Vermont. Unlike us, he got shot in the Civil War, survived after six months in a hospital, and returned home only to move to Minnesota with his parents.

In the 1800s, most farmers were their own creamery people – and often women made butter or cheese in the home. It wasn’t always great. In fact, it was often downright scummy, according to reports in the early 1900s from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. After the goods were made, they would be bought into town and butter would often all be mixed together... which as you might understand created some interesting flavor "characteristics" to be kind. Not to mention health questions we wouldn't want to begin talking about.

Then, farmers realized they could outsource this cheesemaking process to keep things consistent. However, they often still took turns doing their part to help make the cheese or butter. This resulted in different recipes, inconsistent batches, but also kept things low cost – farmers are really good at not paying themselves by just getting it done themselves.

But our buddy Azro P. McKinstry is that man who was born in Vermont and eventually became Minnesota’s first “creamery man.” He graduated school at age 16, then became a harness-making apprentice for $30, $40 and $50 dollars per year over three consecutive years. At age 18, he enlisted in the Union Army… agreeing to finish the harness apprenticeship should he come back alive.

His Regiment, Company H of the 10th Vermont, saw some of the most action through Battles of Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor, Winchester, Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek. Azro was wounded in 1864 at Cold Harbor (Mechanicsville, Va.), about 1.5 years into his service, took his six months in the hospital and was discharged six months after that, July 1, 1865, in Burlington, Vt.

He did complete his harness-making apprenticeship two years later and began farming. He followed his parents to Winnebago, Minn., and established the Woodlawn Cemetery there.

Despite the general description of home-made cheese and butter being inconsistent, could Minnesota make good stuff? Well, Azro could. He was the State of Minnesota’s dairy superintendent at the 1884-85 New Orleans Centennial Exposition (technically the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition) and judges said that our dairy display was the best of all. That's right, Minnesota has been kicking butt in dairy competitions since 1885.

Unfortunately, just 15 years later he died September 12, 1900, being thrown from a plow at the age of 56. Farming continues to be one of the most dangerous occupations, but today mechanical equipment is often the cause of bad outcomes.

Next: How Land O’Lakes brought us consistent butter 100 years ago (with a hat tip to First District Association of Litchfield)
Third: The UMN Gouda Project of the 1970s, and lessons learned
Fourth: Artisan Cheese: a new renaissance
Fifth: If we can get the correct info – How Minnesota made America’s blues!

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