Friday, June 27, 2014

Getting to Know Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery

Who doesn't love green pastures, sweet farm animals, and delicious cheeses? We do! And today we're getting to know Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery, located in Germanton, NC. Our local stop for all things cheese! Family-owned and run, get to know Robin and Johnny Blakley's farm where the animals are pets, the goats are milked every morning, and the cheese is made by hand, with love and care.

Tell us a little about you and how Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery came to be.   

We purchased our 34-acre farm back in 1992 while we were working public jobs. Johnny was a Police Officer for the City of Winston-Salem and Robin worked in Fleet Operations at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.  The area that the farm is located in is one of the last predominately agricultural areas in Forsyth County.  We became a licensed goat dairy in 2012 producing both raw milk aged and fresh goat cheese.  Before 1992 our farm was a cow dairy and a fish farm.  Today, we have dairy goats, Katahdin Cross sheep, Hereford/Angus Cross beef cows and miniature Zebu cattle.  

What type of dairy are you?   

We are a farmstead dairy.  Farmstead means that our cheeses are made on the farm and no outside milk is purchased - - - everything is done here and the goats live here too!

There are so many different types of cheeses out there! Tell us about some of yours and the best ways to eat them.    

We make both raw milk aged cheeses and fresh cheese.  Our two favorites this year are our feta of which one type is marinated in olive oil, with peppercorns, garlic and red pepper and our pimento chevre.  The feta can be eaten as is, on a green salad, or the oil can be brushed on bread or pizza crusts with the feta crumbled on top.  After the cheese has been eaten, any oil remaining can be mixed with red wine vinegar to make a delicious salad dressing.  The pimento chevre is creamy and is great spread on crackers or bread.  It also makes for a great spread to be added to those fresh tomato sandwiches.     

Now don’t give away your prized cheese-making secrets! But can you walk us through how you make your cheeses?

The goats are milked every morning and the milk is stored in our chiller until needed.  Being a micro dairy, we make cheese every six days or so.  Some of our cheeses are made using raw milk and aged in our cheese cave at least sixty days before the wheels can be cut and the cheese sold.  Other milk is pasteurized and turned into chevres, feta, farmers or queso fresco.  These cheeses can be sold the same week.  Our cheese is sold daily in our Farm Store and we attend four farmers markets weekly.  Our goat cheese is also available at several local food stores, co-ops and CSA’s.  You’ll even find some of our cheese on the menu at several local restaurants.      

We love cheese! And we love local products! Why is it important to eat and shop local when it comes to cheese?

We believe it is important to eat and shop local.  In our case, what better way can you meet the person who milks the goats, makes the cheese and samples the cheese to you at farmers markets.  You can shake the hand who feeds you and build a relationship.  We also enjoy that people can come to our farm and see the goats and know how they are cared for.   Our animals are very important members of our farm.  Without them, we couldn’t make the cheese that we enjoy.      

We’re in the midst of the hot months of summer. Do you have any favorite summer cheese dishes for get-togethers and cookouts?   

One of our favorite recipes, especially for July 4th, is a blueberry goat cheese tart.  These tarts use a rolled puff pastry which is filled with plain goat cheese, honey, vanilla and lemon juice and covered with blueberries and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Sliced strawberries can be added too for a beautiful red, white and blue themed dessert dish.   

To learn more about Robin & Johnny and Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery, visit their Facebook page or their website.

Credit for the images | Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

Oh my chocolate-granola heaven, y'all! In case you didn't know, my name is Lauren and I am a self-proclaimed chocolate addict. It's true. Got a headache? No tylenol for me. I'll pop a few chocolate chips and feel instant relief! Sluggish getting my day started? No thanks coffee. I'll take a piece of rich, dark chocolate and feel suddenly energized and ready to take on the world! 

So needless to say, I'm pretty stinkin' excited about today's featured granola recipe ... Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies! Your taste buds are about to take the ride of their life. Now don't get me wrong, chocolate chip cookies are heavenly just as they are ... but when you add in some of our nut-filled Goin' Nuts granola you take your average chocolate chip cookie to the whole next level!!

Now, I'll admit to not always having it all together in the kitchen. Or, well, having slip ups. I cut the below recipe in half in the hopes that I wouldn't have a TON of cookies lying around calling my name (it still made about 10-12!!). Sometimes, when adjusting recipes though, you end up with a little less of something and a little more of something else. The cookies didn't turn out as pretty as I would have liked ... thankfully they still tasted pretty stinkin' delicious! So, when trying the below recipe, my recommendation would be to make the whole batch! You can freeze some if you have extras! Yes, cookies freeze just fine!

So without further ado, ladies and gents ...

Scour your pantry for the following:

1 c butter or margarine, softened
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 c Nothin' but Nola Goin' Nuts granola 
1 1/2 c dark chocolate chips 
1 tsp cinnamon*

*I added in the cinnamon and wow! It gave the cookies a delicious touch.

Now let's get started....

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter and both sugars. Beat on medium speed until creamy.

Add eggs and vanilla, beating until fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture and stir until combined.

Stir in granola and chocolate chips.

Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto a non-stick baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Devour with a glass of cold milk!!!

Check out our Pinterest page for more delicious recipes using granola!

Credit for this recipe |

Friday, June 20, 2014

Getting to Know Good Food Growers Market

Happy Friday y'all! We're tickled pink to introduce a new blog series! As you may or may not know, we are a fairly new business. We've been selling our granola since January (whoo hoo!), and during this short amount of time, we've been blessed to meet and make friends with some other amazing local business owners. Each and every one of these beautiful souls has a wealth of knowledge that we have found too priceless not to share. So we're asking them some questions we know you would all be dying to ask yourselves! 

We will be featuring a different business every Friday. To kick off this exciting series, meet Angie Johnson, the owner of Good Food Growers Market (GFGM)!! She is passionate about good, sustainable, local food, and her local food market in Kernersville, NC is the spot for fresh, local produce.

Tell us a little about you and how Good Food Growers Market (GFGM) came to be.

It all started three years ago when I found myself losing my corporate job of 16 years. I embraced the opportunity by going back to school for something I cared about - good food via organic farming. I knew this would mean going into business for myself later.

GFGM happened accidentally. While still a full-time student, I drove by the location, a well-known old produce market, and spotted the "for rent" sign. Out of curiosity, I called and met with the owners. After they told me they would include the 3.5 acres beside the store and they wanted to keep it in agriculture, I was in.

I always dreamed of a local food market with emphasis on sustainably raised produce and meats. I knew I wanted to teach sustainable gardening in my community. I knew I wanted to grow my own produce, eventually into a CSA program. I also knew that I wanted to support other local businesses, farmers, and artists. The result is GFGM, an evolving marketplace for a local economy.

You just graduated. Congrats! What is your degree in?

Thank you! I received a degree in Sustainable Agriculture, from Central Carolina Community College. The school has one of a handful of programs in the country that focuses on sustainability, including classes taught by local farmers and an on-site farm for hands-on learning.

You run a local, sustainable produce market selling local produce and goods. Why is it so important to eat and shop local?

Great question! Local means putting money back in the pockets of your neighbors. Eating food from local sources ensures that farmers keep growing, which preserves local farmlands from commercial development and adds jobs. The food doesn't travel thousands of miles, which reduces global fuel consumption and preserves the nutritional value of produce that is harvested when ripe.

The French use the term "terroir" to describe the quality a certain place has on the taste of food. Food grown in North Carolina soil just tastes better!

What kind of NC produce can we find in season right now? What are your favorite ways to eat and cook them?

Early June is a transitional period for small farmers. The spring greens are giving way to squash, cucumbers, green beans, garlic scapes, berries, peaches and tomatoes. We are eagerly anticipating the July arrival of melons, sweet corn, eggplant, garlic and peppers.

Most whole foods are best enjoyed when simply prepared, sliced raw, roasted or grilled. We sell tons of tomatoes because nothings says summer in NC like a tomato sandwich.

We hear a lot about eating organic. How important is it that we eat organic produce?

There is constant debate on this topic, so I opt to say "eat what feels right for you." Organic food is grown with natural fertilizers and biological pest control (manure, compost, fish emulsion, pyrethrum, beneficial insects), so it limits your intake of inorganic chemicals. The "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean 15" are great guides for which produce holds/doesn't hold pesticide residues. It encourages you to spend your money on the organic produce that counts.

While I am an advocate of organic, it doesn't mean that organic toaster pastries or potato chips are healthy. The labeling has been abused by corporate processed food companies and big agricultural companies. More transparent consumer education is needed.

Summer gardens are in full bloom. What should we be doing right now to prepare for our fall/winter gardens? 

When I think of fall, I start craving nutrient-dense leafy greens like kale, collards, mustards, turnips, beets and lettuce. Our NC climate allows us to plant many things in August that will overwinter for spring harvest, like garlic, strawberries, collards, and carrots. Our traditional winter diet is based on food preserved in the summer and storage vegetables like potatoes, winter squash, apples, onions and cabbage.

To prepare for winter planting, make sure to add compost to the soil when removing summer crops. To extend the growing season, you can add an inexpensive, lightweight row cover to protect leaves from frost damage.

Just for fun, what’s the craziest produce you’ve ever eaten?

I spent three months in India in 2002, so my opportunities were many. The worst for me was paan, a common digestion aid sold in booths outside of restaurants. It was a mixture of fresh herbs, spices and fruits wrapped in a betel leaf. My favorites include watermelon radishes, sweet potato greens, garlic scapes and tatsoi. But I am always willing to try new things!

To learn more about Angie and Good Food Growers Market visit their Facebook Page.

Credit for the images | Good Food Grower's Market

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Grilled Peach Cobbler with Granola Topping

It's peach season y'all! And that can only mean one thing. Peach Cobbler! Well, I suppose it could mean lots of things ... peach sangria, peach salsa, homemade peach ice cream. Need I go on? Peaches are amazing! So when I found a grilled peach cobbler recipe with a granola topping you bet my heart skipped a few beats!

In case you haven't skipped on over to our Pinterest page, you should. We have an entire board full of mouthwatering recipes using granola. And to make your heart smile even brighter, we'll be posting one new recipe right here every single week. We're going to test them ourselves (who better than your go-to granola gurus!) and give you our nola-tested, sweet-tooth-loving, food-obsessed opinions right here!

Let's not waste another minute. Onward to Grilled Peach Cobbler with Granola Topping...

This recipe is super easy and you'll only need a few simple ingredients. I threw it together in about 30 minutes, from start to finish. It's the perfect dessert for summer cookouts and a great dish to throw together for a last minute get-together. Or you can always make it on a Monday night, just because ... like I did!

Go ahead and gather up...

5-6 ripe peaches
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
8 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2-3/4 cup of our Goin' Nuts granola (if you like lots of the crunchy topping go for 1 full cup)
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Now get going beauties...

1. Turn on your grill and crank it up to medium heat.

2. Cut your peaches in half and twist to pull apart from the pit. Now use a small paring knife to remove the pit.

3. Place the peaches cut side down on your grill until browned (about 5 minutes). 

4. Remove your browned peaches from the grill, slice, and place in an oven safe dish.

5. Add half of the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon (4 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon) to your peaches and toss until completely coated. It's okay if you sneak a taste ... I couldn't resist either!

6. Now in a small bowl combine the granola with the rest of the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. 

7. Top the peaches with the granola mixture and place on the grill for about 15 minutes or until golden brown (mine only took about 8 minutes ... but that's because the temperature on my grill sky rocketed!!).

8. To enjoy, place 1 large scoop of vanilla ice cream in a bowl and top with your peach cobbler. Spoon in. And sigh a beautiful sigh of oh-my-goodness-my-tastebuds-just-died-and-went-to-heaven delight.

Let us know in the comments below if you'll be trying this recipe! With the walnuts, almonds, and pecans from our Goin' Nuts granola, the topping has the perfect nutty crunch. You won't be disappointed, I promise!

xoxo Lauren

Credit for this recipe | The Food Network