RUSH IN FOR RUSH CREEK!

by Alexander Kast in Cheese

 It’s that time of the year! Uplands farm, makers of Pleasant Ridge, an amazing pasture fed cow’s milk cheese is releasing their third year of Rush Creek. It’s definitely the “hot” cheese with write ups in New York Times  and Bon Appetite, but the hype is matched by a superior cheese, so no need to eat your words, unless you really, really want to!

WHAT IS IT?

Rush Creek is produced only in the autumn, when the cows begin to feed off of hay and the milk tends to shift into a creamier, richer fluid.  The idea is to model after the infamous Vacherin Mont D’or , a cheese that is also made in the autumn, historically when the cow’s milk was starting to dry up and not producing enough fluid for the behemoth 80-200 pound Gruyeres or Emmentalers.  With the shortage of milk, they opted for a smaller format cheese that could be eaten during the winter, when the temperatures dipped down and everyone could cozy up to warm, gooey communal blob of cheese!

Rush Creek is also UNPASTEURIZED!  If we wanted to get the French or Swiss import in, chances are it would be pasteurized, be handled by two or three suppliers before it came our way, be subject to a long, nasty plane ride that brings clear wear and tear on such a fragile cheese and likely deal with the custom crack downs during the holiday season.  We are obviously thrilled to have such a high quality cheese produced domestically!

HOW TO EAT?

To keep this very fragile cheese from turning into one big blob, Spruce Bark is wrapped around the cheese, giving support and a beautiful woodsy flavor as the cheese ages.  It’s best to buy this cheese whole (it comes in about 1 lb, 16 oz wheels) and invite some of your closest friends over for an evening of good company, amazing cheese and wines like Champagne, Beaujolais Nouveau or Cotes du Jura .  Those sound like some pretty good Turkey Day beverages too!

WHO MAKES IT?

One last cool aspect about Rush Creek is that it is only the second style of cheese Uplands farm has ever made.  Their Pleasant Ridge cheese was the only child for nearly a decade with Mike Gingrich at the helm of the cheese room.  When current cheese maker Andy Hatch started with the dairy, he not only wanted to perfect the production of Pleasant Ridge, but he also wanted to leave his mark with a cheese he could call his own.  Over years of debating what to do, possibly a cheddar or maybe a blue, the consensus resulted in what seems to be the most logical and traditional style of cheese.

In August, Andy visited Southern Season while he was in town for the American Cheese Society and we were thrilled to finally have him in store! For an interested interview with Andy check out this Heritage Radio piece from 2010.

WHEN WILL IT ARRIVE?
We have three allotments coming our way.  The first will arrive sometime the week of October  15th, the Second the week of Nov 12th and the third on the first week of December.  Supplies are limited and will move fast!

TALENT RUNS IN THE FAMILY

 Andy’s wife Caitlin is a phenomenal watercolor painter, some of her portraits of cheese are the best I have ever seen! Check out her work at HERE!