ABOUT US: WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO
Welcome to Lime Kiln Farm!
After years spent working in the banking and insurance industries Alessandro and Brent decided to do their part to save farms, one at a time, long before the 'farm to table' movement took place.
They bought a first farm in Caprese Michelangelo, Tuscany in 1991. They completely restored it (it was built in the 1600's and abandoned since 1970), opened a B&B and restarted farming operations: raising sheep, goats, cows and pigs. The farm property is still active and in their possession Visit website.
In 2004 they expanded their farming activity acquiring a second property in Anghiari, Tuscany, and bringing it back to life, focusing on raising goats and producing artisanal goat cheese. For that purpose they formed a cheese production and distribution company named ABCheese. On top they started collecting and pressing olives from their 450 tree olive grove. Now, in its tenth year, cheese demand is stronger than ever and also the management of this farm continue to be in their possession.
This latest activity gave A&B quite a name in the goat cheese world: they have been invited to several Italian TV shows (local and national), they have been reviewed by numerous food bloggers and they have experienced raising popularity in the local food movement. Brent wrote a book in 2011 'Get Your Goat', published in the USA by Quarry books, which gave him a strong fame between worldwide goat raising experts. Buy 'Get Your Goat' on Amazon
In 2014 A&B thought it was time for them to bring back this long accumulated experience across the Atlantic and start a new farming and cheesing venture in the USA. The Hudson Valley, in particular, was identified as the ideal location for such an initiative, not only because of its climate and topography, but also because of its proximity to large cities (Albany, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia) where the farm to table movement is now well established.
Goat and Cow cheese production
A&B currently have approximately 40 goats and 8 cows on the milk line. The Goats are Oberhasli and Toggenburgs. The cows are Milking Shorthorns. All milk is processed at the farm, making Limekiln Farm a farmstead operation. A&B sell directly from the farm, participate in several local markets and distribute through a growing list of local outlets. The farm also offers group tours including cheese tasting events and cheese presentations. There is also a growing demand for cheese making classes.
A&B start milking the day the goat gives birth and continue on until the start of November. This usually results in an 8.5 month lactation. Our farm (400+ acres), is truly goat paradise with thick vegetation, open fields and overrun pastures: goats are free to roam at will, deciding for themselves what they will eat. Although much healthier for the goat, it does add an extra challenge for the cheese maker. Milk from free roaming goats is always a bit unpredictable, even more so when the animals are out roaming 100's of acres of woods every day. What they eat, affects the milk, affects the cheese.
Cheesemaking would be easier if the animals were kept in the barn eating hay every day. On the other hand, goat keeping would be easier the animals would roam everyday. Goats in a commercial herd live an average of 4 years, going through 3 lactations. Our oldest goat in Tuscany was 10 and she was still the highest producer in the barn. It is clear that our goats will continue to roam freely!
Milk naturally goes through cycles. As soon as the babies are born, the milk, although not overly abundant in quantity, is very high quality, very high fat content and protein content for the growing kids. This to a cheese maker is the cash crop. The milk is almost no-fail. Every cheese rich and smooth, you wish the milk keep this level of quality all through the year. But, as the goats move onto pasture and sweet fast growing grass and leaves, the milk swells to higher quantity but the fat and protein ratios dip. Cheese yield is actually higher but it is not so easy to make our spring time favorites like spreadable Chevre or really gooey Brie. There is a proverb in Italian that says the month of May is the time for stacking up on cheese and firewood and that's what is done at Lime Kiln Farm. The milk, although not as fat, is abundant and healthy as the goats are on pasture and that happy/healthiness is transferred to the cheese.
With the heat of summer, milk production falls a bit as the goats are hot and eating less.
September and mating season sees a small rise in fat % and milk quantity which quickly fall off in both accounts by mid October.
All our cheeses are made ONLY from our own milk, all pasteurized.
We currently make
- Chevre. Soft, creamy, a bit sour, lightly salted.
- Hudson Bries. A Brie type, both in large and small size, with light white mold exterior the interior softens with age.
- Primo Sale. Farmhouse cheese, similar to Feta in taste and texture. A no fail recipe. Slow stirred, bit salty, bit sour, always tasty. Ready in 3 days, one of our best sellers.
- Caciotta, a hard table cheese. Depending on the technique the curd is cooked for long term aging, washed for softer type cheeses (Gouda), washed for pasty cheese, covered in ash or wrapped in leaves. Can be sold in two weeks or two years.
- The Windham. This comes in form of pyramids, logs or rounds. French style. Bloomy rinds, creamy under crust, can be somewhat chalky center.