The only cheese I'd ever made prior to last weekend was paneer for a chickpea buttermilk curry in college and it was great even though I used regular old store-bought homogenized, pasteurized milk.
If I had to choose one food as a favorite it would be cheese. It's my favorite snack and rare is the day that I don't eat at least a bite of it -- e.g. this morning's breakfast was a feta, sour cream, lime and herb spread on toasted baguette. I love cheese which is why I went to Scott Dominic Catino's goat cheese making class this weekend in Yamhill at Kookoolan Farms. Kookoolan is an amazingly diverse small farm with orchards, vegetable gardens, chickens for eggs and meat and a few Jersey milking cows. It's about an hour southwest from Portland and a beautiful drive once you get off I-5
This is the second year that Kookoolan's Chrissie and Kooroosh Zaerpoor are offering cheese classes with various cheese makers through the spring and summer. Classes fill up fast.
If you don't want to attend a class but are in the area Chrissie and Kooroosh also operate a farm store stocked with heirloom chicken eggs, broilers, kombucha and more along with cheesemaking and dairy cultures and supplies including kefir grains. It's best to call ahead if visiting the farm store for the first time. Kookoolan Farms also operates a booth at the Hillsdale Farmers Market in addition to delivering chicken, eggs and more weekly to many fine Portland restaurants such as Navarre, Nostrana and Biwa.
I plan on making some homemade goat cheese this spring. I bought a chevre culture, a cheese making book and vegetable rennet from Kookoolan. Now I just need to source some raw goat milk when I'm ready. Catino keeps Nigerian dwarf goats (he's had 40 births in the last two weeks, including quintuplets) and I've never tasted such sweet, fresh milk. No wonder his cheese is so good...
Kookoolan Farms (and farm store) 15713 Highway 47 Yamhill, Oregon 97148 503.730.7535 www.kookoolanfarms.com
Call Chrissie at the number above to register for a cheese making class.