Day 4 of #SpringBreak2019 included a scenic drive to Veldhuizen Farms near Dublin, about 75 miles SW of Joshua. It was an absolute perfect day – clear, blue skies – to tour a dairy farm, taste hand-crafted cheese, and play with young calves and furry dogs. My friend, Samantha, and her son, Connor (3), joined us too!
We arrived to the V Farm just in time for the noonday tour with chief farmer, cheese guru, and owner Mister Stuart. The cheese making “factory” is connected to the Shoppe with a large viewing window overlooking the stirring vat where cheesemakers were making the Redneck Cheddar variety.
The cheese curds are separated from the whey before getting seasoned according to the artisan’s recipe. The whey you see in the bucket is not wasted … Local Goat Distillery in Granbury uses it to make vodka! According to the locals, Local Goat is one of four distilleries IN THE WORLD to produce vodka from cow’s milk.
Once we graduated from Cheesemaking 101, It was time to visit The Parlor, where the cows and sheep are milked twice a day, every day. Oh this brings back fond memories of my lactating days when I produced 80-100 ounces of breast milk a day!
After seeing and hearing HOW the milk is collected and stored, we headed outside to The Cave, one of the cheese storage areas. Walking up to this stone entrance gave me flashbacks to Jerusalem and visiting the shepherd’s cave and empty tomb.
Have you ever been inside a CAVE filled with cheese? Let me tell you, it’s freaking amazing. The climate-controlled cave is consistently 50 degrees with 80% humidity. Cheesemakers turn, flip, and rotate each block at least twice a week to keep their shape and ensure proper “curing” takes place.
After visiting The Cave, we headed towards another building that’s used exclusively for aging Bosque Blue Cheese, a Veldhuizen Signature Series. If you like blue cheese, you must try this cheese … it’s so good!!!
Mr. Stuart explained the brining process for Bosque Blue and even opened the brine tank so we could smell the prudent solution. He also demonstrated how he “spikes” the cheese with stainless steel rods (it’s an industrial lettuce chopper!) to allow oxygen to circulate and encourage mold growth. This unique process — involving a special wrap, brining, and spiking — with the special storage building with particular temperature and humidity softens the cheese’s texture and develops that distinctive blue flavor!
Once the cheese operation tour concluded, Kamden and Connor were ready to stop listening and start exploring the farm! They found baby calves, a herd of sheep, and even a mama pig with her baby piglet.
I feel like this is a depiction of the standoff at the O.K. Corral between Kamden and a ram!
The boys had a great time and Kamden is already asking when we can return to Veldhuizen Farms for another visit. I want to return when it’s not as crowded so I can taste ALL of the Shoppe’s artisan cheeses AND actually enjoy them.
But no fun excursion like a dairy farm tour would be complete without bringing some goodies home to enjoy later:
Hey, it’s always a GOUDA time to buy a t-shirt and farm-fresh brown eggs too!
If you’re in Texas, you’ve got to make the drive to Dublin for a tour of Veldhuizen Farms. But, if you can’t visit in-person, here’s an extensive list of retailers and restaurants all over The Lone Star State who offer Veldhuizen cheeses. If you’re out of state, don’t fret because The Shoppe will gladly ship their artisan products directly to your door!
Where are my food fanatics? Do you have any recipe suggestions for the cheese varieties I brought home today? I’m thinking Bosque on a grilled ribeye or the Jalapeño Cheddar in stone-ground grits! What would you make with these artisan cheeses?