It all started in 1998, when my third child was born, and I decided to leave my job as a successful academic physician. In spite of my success and love for medicine, I felt a deep and urgent desire to raise my kids where they could run around in the fresh air and experience the joy and life lessons I had learned while growing up on a farm. Little did I know what a GIANT challenge it would be to make this kooky idea actually work. Especially since I knew next to nothing about running a farm or milking sheep or making cheese! Oh, I had the bits and pieces of understanding that I absorbed while growing up on a farm- like a profound appreciation for natural cycles of life, and the beauty of wild spaces, combined with gumption to work really hard at taking good care of people, animals and plants.
Turns out, I’d had a great education for making cheese. In college, I kindled a passion for microbiology and chemistry that would carry me through medical school. That scientific education, coupled with the love of fine cheese I learned from my Aunt Jean who owned a gourmet cheese shop in New Jersey (long before women-owned businesses were common) sustained me on this crazy journey. But even with that knowledge going for us, learning to milk sheep and make great cheese took 10 years of hard work and many setbacks, with lots of other folks helping to make this dream a reality. Finally, in 2008, we had our first year of commercial cheese production. And we were ready to share my passion for fantastic cheese made in an ethical, sustainable way with our customers.
Then our cheeses started winning awards! In 2009, we were amazed and honored to win our first blue ribbon at the American Cheese Society annual competition, when our signature cheese, Bossa, won first place in the washed rind sheep’s milk category. That early recognition from our peers in the artisan cheese community confirmed that we were onto something. And we haven’t looked back. Since our first year of making cheese for sale, our cheeses have won more than 80 awards in prestigious cheese and artisan food competitions like the American Cheese Society annual competition, the World Championship Cheese Contest, and the Good Food Awards, among others. I love that we can bring delight and bragging rights to our community through our artisan cheeses.
Nowadays, I feel that our founding principles of community and sustainability are more important than ever and I continue on this journey with the help of a small hard working team, including my daughter, Eliza.
Learn more at GreenDirtFarm.com
Effie's Pecan Biscuits with Dirt Lover Cheese and Blackberry Jam
We adore Effie's biscuits for pairing with our cheeses. The salty sweetness and toasted pecan flavors of Effie's Pecan Biscuits are a perfect partner to the buttery and floral flavors in our Dirt Lover cheese. We add a touch of blackberry jam and lemon zest in this pairing and all the flavors pop!
3) Add one teaspoon of blackberry jam, and
4) Grate a few peelings of lemon zest over the whole thing. Perfect!