Long before I was aware of concepts like “a local food movement” and “farm-to-fork”, I was eating Monterey Chevre made at Rawson Brook Farm. It could always be found in my family’s fridge- both the classic plain and the garlic & chive varieties. Growing up we always made a spring pilgrimage to the farm, to watch Susan Sellew (the owner and farmer of Rawson Brook/Monterey Chevre) make cheese, and to play with the kids – goat kids, that is!
When you arrive to Rawson Brook, on one side of the driveway is a paddock and large three sided barn that houses the goats. On the other side is another older barn, which houses the kids (in the spring), the milking room, the cheese making room, and the farm store. More often than not, Susan, or one her helpers, can be found doing one chore or another, ready to answer questions with a big warm smile. The farm store works on the honor system.
As Susan said to me- “One of the things about the Slow Food Movement is that (in my opinion) it doesn’t speak at all to the life of the dairy farmer….or maybe any farmer who has to seek out a living, pay for health insurance and college. There is absolutely nothing slow about my life… it’s 12-14 hrs a day, 7 days a week with not a whole lot of time for preparing food if you don’t happen to have a homemaker in the mix…” The goats get milked twice a day, a process that takes about three hours. Every other day they make chevre with the collected pasteurized goats’ milk, rennet, and any flavorings added for that batch. From 1000 pounds of milk, Susan can get about 150 pounds of cheese.
Susan has been making her chevre for 28 years now, and while she says goats’ milk cheese was a tough sell at first, Monterey Chevre has become a staple of the South County food scene. You kind find it on many Berkshire restaurant menu’s including Allium and John Andrews. It is also available for purchase at markets like Guido’s and Spirited. It goes great with bread or crackers, makes a wonderful cheese souffle, and is perfect for take-em-out-put-em-back-in potatoes.