Cheesemaker Visit! Cato Corner Farm
This past weekend, Alex and I found ourselves in Connecticut. We were off-island, attending the Catboat Association Annual Conference. As catboat owners, and part owners of Catboat Coffee Co., we determined this group of die-hard catboaters was worth meeting – and we were right! Such a passionate bunch of nautical nerds. We fit right in.
Since we were off-island, and in Connecticut, we took the opportunity to visit Cato Corner Farm. This is a cheesemaking operation that’s been on my radar for a few different reasons. First, one of my island pals Jo Douglas (Crossfit coach, Zamboni driver, and pig farmer at Fork-to-Pork) used to work at Cato Corner! And second, Cato Corner was named in Food & Wine Magazine’s Top 50 U.S. Cheesemakers in addition to winning numerous other accolades.
We moseyed in to the farm stand and had ourselves a great tasting experience with cheesemaker/monger Sam. We started by asking “what’s tasting good today?” (By the way, I recommend this question any time you find yourself bellied-up to a cheese counter). Before we knew it, Sam brought us out a little bit of everything. I was in cheese-tasting heaven!
Cato Corner hand crafts their small batch, farmstead cheese made from the milk of their own 45 Jersey cows. Their cheeses are their own unique recipes, based on traditional cheese making styles and highlighting the flavor and terroir of the Cato Corner pastures and farm. We tasted twelve cheeses in total, and wound up taking home some Celeste (French-style lactic cheese with a funky wrinkly rind), Bloomsday (A “mistake” cheese! Left to cook a bit too long but instead of throwing it out, they aged it for 5-6 months, into an acidic and super snackable cheese) and Black Ledge Blue (A medium-strong blue that is just begging to be melted on a burger or a steak).
As we were cashing out, Sam said we could go on into the barn and say hi to the cows. Such a treat! We got to visit with some of the herd responsible for these delicious cheeses. The Cato Corner cows are so friendly. They all have names, they graze freely on pasture grasses May-November and the rest of the year they eat primarily local hay. Cato Corner really takes pride in their land, their herd, their cheesemakers, their cheeses. It’s something you can easily observe when you visit the farm, and I think it’s something you can really taste in the cheese. Looking forward to carrying some Cato Corner cheeses in the shop!