From goat’s milk to cow’s milk, you will find a delectable assortment of cheese at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets. All cheese at the Farmers’ Market is farmstead cheese, meaning that the milk is produced and the cheese processed on the farm. Farmstead cheese is able to utilize raw milk in its cheese, therefore resulting in a healthier and tastier cheese. Cheese available at the Farmers’ Market can be either pasteurized or raw, so be sure to talk with the farmer for more information.
Winchester Cheese makes seven different varieties of cow’s milk Gouda cheese: mild, medium, sharp, jalapeño, smoked, garden herb and cumin. All of Winchester’s ingredients are farm fresh. Their cheese is unpasteurized and has no rennet, only vegetable enzymes. People who are lactose intolerant can eat Gouda cheese because it is naturally free of lactose. The lactose is mostly removed with the whey during the cheese-making process. The small amount of remaining lactose is utilized as the cheese ages by good microbes already present in cheese. Winchester cheese is aged anywhere from sixty days to two years, depending on the variety, long enough for any lactose to be removed. Jean Avisard, a seller for Winchester, recommends taking the cheese out of the refrigerator fifteen minutes prior to eating for a creamier, mellower flavor. Winchester sells at the Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday Downtown markets. Visit www.winchestercheese.com for more information.
Spring Hill Jersey Cheese of Petaluma makes over thirty different kinds of cow’s milk cheese. Spring Hill raises 400 Jersey cows on their farm and all of their products are certified organic. Jersey cows originated on the British Isle of Jersey and are small and brown with adorable long eyelashes. Jersey cows have a higher fat content in their milk resulting in a higher yielding and better tasting cheese. Spring Hill has six different varieties of cheddar, eight varieties of jack, a few types of dry cheese, as well as fresh curd and spreads. Their dry jack won first place at the American Cheese Society several years ago. You can visit them online at www.springhillcheese.com or at the Sunday Main Street Farmers’ Market.
Redwood Hill Farm in Sebastopol is the largest goat’s milk producer of dairy in the United States, and you can find all of their award-winning goat cheese at the Wednesday Farmers’ Market. While the farm makes more yogurt than anything else, only their cheese is available for sale at the Farmers’ Market. You can find their yogurt at Whole Foods, Wild Oats, The Co-op and One Life. Redwood Hill makes three different types of Chevre: peppercorn, plain and garlic and chive. Their three varieties of hard cheese are feta (raw or pasteurized), cheddar and smoked cheddar. They also have three types of French-style cheese including California Crottin, Bucheret and Camellia, a Camembert-style cheese. Redwood Hill farms organically but is not certified organic because they cannot obtain all of the organically grown feed ingredients that would enable them to be certified organic. Redwood Hill was the first Certified Humane Goat Dairy in the United States. All of their goats have names, know their names and are never killed or sold. For more information go to www.redwoodhill.com.