Tucked away in the Connecticut countryside, not far from Colchester, is the Cato Corner Farm along Cato Corner Road. I do not know which came first, the farm or the road; not that it matters either. The fun thing is that this is a farmstead dairy, making cheese from raw milk. I know about some of them, especially in Vermont. I am particularly concerned with raw milk cheese, so there are quite a few dairies that are excluded from my list, naturally. Having said that, the USA is a huge country, with such a variety when it comes to cheese making, that I am fine with not having a complete overview. Even counting just those doing raw milk cheese. Since I after all are in Connecticut for the moment, on vacation, it was sort of good fortune there was a farmstead dairy close by, doing raw milk cheese. So we were of course set off to visit, not only once, but twice.
A friend of a friend
Americans are Americans. As my passion for cheese came to the attention of my surroundings, they set out to find the name of a farmstead dairy they had visited six years ago, or thereabout. It did not take long before Cato Corner Farm emerged. And a quick Google search told me they were doing raw milk cheese. Could it better be? We were all set to go visiting.
Cato Corner Farm is not a showy farm
It took us an hour to get there, and it was far from a showy farm that met us as we arrived. For a Norwegian used to low key farms, that was very pleasing. The reception we received was high class, though. That’s how americans are. A fine selection of cheese, exceptionally wide I would say, considering they only make 25 tons of it per year.
A smaller selection would probably have been a more natural thing, but then again, this is the USA, the market is big and a wide selection is probably expected. Having said that, some of the cheeses are variations of the same cheese or the same style. In spite of the low key appearance there was a steady stream of customers coming to buy cheese. Telling something about the quality. We had a good time tasting and buying cheese. Most week-ends they go to farmers’ markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn, NYC. However, their cheeses are available at Whole Foods and other grocery stores, mainly on the east coast.
Mark – the cheesemaker
Mark is the head cheesemaker at the farm. He joined his mother in 1999, two years after she had taken over the farm and decided she wanted to make cheese to get added value out of the milk. It’s his mother that lives at the farm and is running it, then responsible for all live stock and supplying the milk. We were there at the week-end, obviously no NYC markets, so it was our luck he popped by the cheese shop just as we turned up. As we were talking I mentioned I had been invited to Jos Vulto to make cheese, but due to sad circumstances that was not possible. Mark invited me straight away to come make cheese with him.
But that’s another story.