Hi, December! The Latest News from Farm & Larder and Bella Luna Farms

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As we transition this month from our wet and windy fall into the first days of winter, the holidays approach and the days get shorter and shorter while also seeming busier and busier. Though we people are hurrying about, it is ironically quite quiet around the farm.

Blissfully unaware of the hustle and bustle occurring just beyond the gates of Bella Luna, the goats, donkey, and chickens go about their daily routine of eating, ruminating, and sleeping. A hush has fallen around the hives in the apiary as the bees are now in their winter clusters, huddling around the queen to keep everyone warm and fed. The last of the leaves have fallen, and the bounty of the summer and fall has been stored away—the apples and pears have been harvested and the tomatoes have been canned to enjoy throughout the upcoming winter.

We have been busy putting the ornamental flower gardens to bed and also added heavy straw mulch to the vegetable plots, which will remain fallow over the winter to protect the soil and keep weeds at bay. In other areas of the vegetable garden, we planted cover crops which will be tilled in during the spring to help add nutrients to the soil. The hardier crops—the kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, and parsnips—are holding up well despite the recent cold snap. These vegetables thrive in our temperate climate, their flavors actually improving with the colder temperatures of fall and winter.

With less time needed in the garden, we are able to devote more time to our work in the creamery. This fall we are busy developing several new cheeses—one an alpine-style mixed milk Tomme crafted from goat and cow’s milk, the other a gouda-style washed curd cheese. Both of these will make their debut next spring after aging for 4-5 months (or longer for some!) in the cheese cave at 53 degrees, along with a feta-style cheese that will be ready in January. We are excited to be working with new recipes and techniques and look forward to sharing some of these cheeses in the spring when they are ready.

If you are still searching for a holiday gift, look no further than the farm: Give the gift of a cheesemaking or cooking class here at Bella Luna, a subscription to Farm & Larder’s weekly delivery service, or a gift basket. Along with our classic Nonna Pat’s Sunday Supper basket—which includes Italian provisions such as hand-crafted pasta, dipping oil and our own marinara sauce—we can also customize a box for you, carefully-curated with our housemade jams and other farm products; just drop us a line!

A scheduling note: The last delivery of the year will occur on Thursday, December 17th. We will pick back up again in 2016 with the first delivery on Thursday, January 7th. We hope you have the happiest of holidays, and wish to sincerely thank you for sharing the year of 2015 with us. Cheers!

this week's recipes
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hi, august!

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