Rachel Scherer and her husband Bruce are representative of a new wave of farmers who combine science backgrounds with love and respect for the land. In 2004, Rachel began making her cheeses. “I learned in my kitchen,” she says. “My first career was in science, so my comfort with experimentation let me fool around, make mistakes, and learn from them.” Husband Bruce “manages the pastures and the infrastructure. He and I designed, constructed and outfitted the barns and dairy ourselves. Bruce also raises woodland pastured hogs and broilers on the farm.”
“Our land was 100% wooded 40 years ago,” Rachel explains. “The many stone walls reveal there once were pastures, and we have been re-creating them using animals as an integral part of the process. We cut, then run hogs on newly cut areas. The next year we let the goats forage on the stump sprouts in spring, then seed cover crops, and let them graze again in fall before seeding pasture grasses and forbs. Once established, the goats are rotated through the forage stands so that they graze ‘belly-to-knee’ – they are never eating down to the ground. Broilers follow the goats, depositing their rich manure to fertilize regrowth. The system builds healthy soil and healthy animals…we are what THEY eat!”
Rachel started like many, “as a homestead cheesemaker, feeding our extended family and our neighborhood with foods I believe are valuable for health and well-being. When we decided to become a licensed dairy and sell our products off the farm, we committed to maintaining the outlook of nourishing a family. Our processes and our products are simple, and I want more than anything else for the clean, freshness of sun and spring water and pasture to be the dominant flavors.”
For Rachel, the process of transformation is fascinating. You can hear her passion, “The endless variety of flavors that come from combinations of culture time and temperature, the amazing ways that shape and gravity affect texture – I love the creativity.” In her previous life, Rachel was a Research Fellow in Structural Biology UMASS Amherst.
Does she use her own milk? “Only!” Rachel says. The milk is provided by her fourteen LaMancha does.
Fermented milks: yogurt, kefir
Fresh Cheese: soft lactic ferments: chevre, labne
Brine-aged raw milk Bulgarian-style Feta
Aged raw milk oil-rubbed with smoked paprika “Cabra Rojo” – mesophilic washed-curd gouda-process elastic paste, sweet palate.
Aged raw milk natural rind “Pascolo di Primavera” – similar to cacciota, thermophilic toma-process : can be eaten soft and young, semi-hard middle aged, or left to become a hard grating cheese
Little White Goat Dairy has a farm store, open April-December 7 days 8am-6pm. Tours are by appointment only.
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