Monday, March 28, 2011

Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese

On an extremely beautiful mid-March Saturday, I had the privilege and the pleasure to load up in a van with a bunch of other local bloggers & foodies.  We were headed up the road to Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese farm in Austin, KY.  As I’ve mentioned before, while I’ve been living in Nashville for over 5 years, I was born & raised in Kentucky.  A lot of people (Nashvillians included!) don’t realize how close Nashville is to Kentucky.  It’s not uncommon at all to see Kentucky products sold at our local farmer’s markets.  Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese is one in particular that especially caught my eye.  From my very first encounter with them, right away I was drawn to the fact they were from Barren County, KY.  You see, Barren County just happens to be the county The Fiance is from!  Sometimes when we’re headed back that way we like to take the country roads instead of the interstate.  While I have seen some beautiful landscape, including gorgeous northern California, I will always have a special love for the soft rolling hills of KY.

Once we arrived at the farm, we were treated to breakfast provided by Foxy Baking Co.  Quiches made with Kenny’s Cheese!

We then donned hairnets and joined Kenny himself, as he explained the cheese making process, and how he got into making cheese.


While I may not remember every step of the process he explained to us, what I did impart, was Kenny’s passion & love for making cheese.  It’s really meaningful to see someone who believes in & loves what they do for a living.  That enthusiasm for cheese can be seen (and tasted) just by looking at the sheer amount of variety he creates!  I can assure you every ounce of that cheese is made with love.  And what does good love do over time?  Well it gets better with age of course!  Just check out all this delicious cheese aging.

It’s also apparent that Kenny cares about the environment.  He doesn’t even waste an ounce of whey!  Using the earth’s gravitational pull, the whey is drained off and repurposed.

This is called the cheddaring process.  Doesn’t it look fun?

And what “city-folk-visit-the-country” field trip would be complete without a visit to the baby cows?  Seeing as I grew up on a cattle farm, it’s not quite a novelty for me, but even I have to admit the calves were quite adorable.

Ahhh… the lovely smell of silage.

After all the touring, watching, and listening, all of us food bloggers worked up an appetite.  Luckily, the kind folks at Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese were preparing a delicious spread of their cheeses for us to sample.  Honestly, is there really anything as fun & exciting as having a spread of quality food laid out in front of you, and being told “Dig in!  Tell us what you think.”

Anyone who knows me in person knows that “favorite” is a word that is hard for me to use.  To choose a favorite anything is always a hard decision for me, but especially when it comes to food.  On this table alone, there were 3 varieties of bleu cheese.  Not only could I not choose a favorite cheese on the table, I couldn’t even choose a favorite bleu cheese!  And that’s coming from someone who thought they didn’t like bleu cheese.  On this day, I found out not only do I like bleu cheese, I like all Kenny’s varieties!  Each cheese had something about it that set it apart from the others.  After nibbling on the brie, and loving the soft smooth texture, I was sure it was my favorite.  But then I would sample the Kentucky Bleu again, and think it was my favorite.  I would find myself making my way back over to the Kentucky Rose again and again.  A lot of the other bloggers seemed to love the Norwood variety, so I’d try that one again to see if I agreed.  I think you get the point.  We loved the cheese!  We loved it so much, we completely forgot there was lunch being prepared for us as well!

Invited along with us, were the guys from a soon-to-be-opened food truck called RiffsTruck.  When asked what their food truck was going to be serving, they kept saying “street food”.  And to be honest, I had no idea what it meant.  But from my first glance at what they were preparing for us, I instantly knew it would be delicious.  Clockwise from top left: Panzanella Salad with Cornbread Croutons, Kenny’s Farmhouse Bleu Gouda, and Bacon Vinaigrette; torching the Awe Brie to achieve the perfect melt; Pork Croustade w/Pear Chutney and Kenny’s Farmhouse Awe Brie alongside White Cheddar Grits; Salted Cod Cake to go atop the grits; the finished product being dolloped with Habanero Aioli; and Savory Bread Pudding with Kenny’s Farmhouse Cranberry Havarti & Tomato Basil Cheddar Cheeses topped w/Tomato Jam.  (Special thanks to Beth’s post on Eat.Drink.Smile, because I was too busy snapping photos & eating to write down what each dish was.)  I seriously cannot wait for you guys to open up shop truck!  Follow them on Twitter to know when they’re up & operating!

All in all it was a PHENOMENAL day!  If you’re lucky enough to live within a close radius to Austin, KY, I highly recommend you taking the drive out there.  Especially all my Glasgow, Hart County, Bowling Green friends, you have no excuse to not experience the deliciousness that is Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheeses.  And you just might be surprised to find Kenny’s Cheese is available in more than just Kentucky & Tennessee!  Check out their list of locations to find some near you, or you can even order online!

To read the perspectives of the other bloggers that went, click these links:

Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil

Beth of Eat.Drink.Smile.

Amy at Fearless Homemaker

Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures

Leah of So How’s It Taste

Anna-Kate of La Aguacate

Heather of Gluten-Free Cat

To see more of my photos from the trip, check out my Facebook page.

And next up on my blog… a recipe featuring one of my purchases from the day: Aged White Cheddar with Cracked Peppercorn.

(PS. I feel the need to mention, I did NOT vignette this photo.  I promise!  But it sure looks like I did.)

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