Having lived in the Hudson Valley for a number of years, I always keep an eye on the events and releases from Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie, NY. I have tasted and reviewed several of their cheeses, finding some of them to be good and tasty, to others that left me wanting more.
Sprout Creek is an interesting find as it is rather unexpected to maintain a working farm, educational center, market, and full-time cheese farm, right in the middle of a historic town. Maybe it is because I lived there for so long, but finding any sort of locavore culture beyond the farmer’s market near Vassar college is difficult to say the least. There are a couple of stores that do offer some goods, but the local artisan community is definitely in its infancy.
That being said, I will always support Sprout Creek for what it brings to the community. I may not be a fan of all of their cheeses, but I respect what they are trying to accomplish through a sustainable, working, and educational environment.
While visiting my in-laws a couple of weeks ago, I came across the latest offering from Sprout Creek: A cheese by the name of Margie. This cheese won “best in class” at the United States Cheese Championship this past year, and has made the rounds in the Hudson Valley as an exciting new offering from head cheesemaker, Colin McGrath.
Margie is a pasteurized, bloomy rind cheese taking advantage of the spring season and the fresh grass available. The wheel itself has a clean smell without a hint of ammonia. The rind is surprisingly firm as I cut through the wheel, even after leaving it on my board at room temp for an hour.
The interior is a very pale yellow bordering on white color, with a uniform texture from rind to center. I would expect some amount of give and breakdown near the exterior, but Margie was solid throughout.
There is a definite “bite” as my teeth chew through the rind. Very firm… The paste is creamy on the tongue, but I am surprised at how mild this cheese is.There is a definite hint of grass and butter, but it is so faint that I have trouble identifying the flavor profile. The absence of flavor is disturbing to where I look on the packaging to see if I have a young wheel, fresh from the farm without any opportunity to age.
I put the Margie away for a tasting a few days later, only to have similar results when sharing on a board with some friends and family. Too young. Too soon. This cheese is well made, no questions about that, but this wheel was shipped and sold before its time. I need to grab another wheel the next time I am in the Hudson Valley. This is not representative of what I expected.