Farmers market season is beginning (in DC, at least) and spring and summer’s fresh produce often calls for fresh cheese, like chevre, mozzarella and feta. I noted last summer that I had had the chance to sample some new-to-me cheeses from Maine — and the good folks at Pineland Farms were kind enough to send a box full of samples for my budding cheese snobs and I to taste. (Proof that you reap what you sow: my five-year-old has recently sworn off string cheese, instead asking me, peering into the cheese drawer, “Do you have any of those cheeses I like?”)
Pineland Farms Creamery in New Gloucester, Maine, is part of a 5,000 acre educational farm and cross-country ski facility (among other outdoor recreational offerings). The farmstead creamery uses milk from the farm’s grass-fed (and artificial hormone-free) Holstein cows to produce cheddars, flavored Jacks, Swiss, feta and more. The two-year aged cheddar was nicely sharp. This may come as a surprise, but the cheese that really caught my attention was their Monterey Jack. A cheese I rarely give a second thought to, Pineland Farms’ version is just so milky and creamy that I hardly wanted to share it with the kids. (They enjoyed it in quesadillas, while I nibbled on those crispy bits of cheese that ooze out of the tortilla in the pan.)
We were also smitten with the feta, pictured below. It may not be a traditional feta in that it’s neither made from sheeps milk nor a product of Greece, but cows milk feta is often well-suited for cooking and can be a stepping stone for people who don’t (yet) appreciate a briny feta. This feta was, like the Jack, notably creamy and clean-tasting with a not-too-salty tang. I used it in a Corn and Feta Quiche that was a hit with the whole family.
You can find Pineland Farms cheeses in Whole Foods in the Northeast or Bloom/Food Lion stores along the East Coast.
(Feta is so in fashion that Culture magazine placed it on the cover of its spring issue; pick up a copy at your local cheese shop. We’ll surely be cooking with it more as summer approaches.)
What’s your feta style? Sheepy or bovine? Salty or creamy?
Disclosure: I received cheeses from Pineland Farms for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are our own.