Day 40–The Meatrix (Agribusiness and Your Meat Supply)

Could chickens roam Cary backyards?

Today, the Town Council for my town (Town of Cary) will vote for the fourth time on whether to allow residents to keep backyard chickens. Cary is known for being extremely proactive when it comes to parks and greenways or the arts, but not so much with chickens. I still can’t figure that out. My neighbor could have a dog that barks all night, but they couldn’t have quiet chickens. Poultry bias at work?

In honor of this (hopefully) historic vote, we are having quiche again with eggs from our favorite chickens, Coco Chanel and Oprah. You can access the quiche recipe by clicking on the “recipe” menu at the top of the blog page and go to Day 25. Yummy!

Moopheus, Leo, Chickety, and Agent Industry explore food production in "The Meatrix"

In the meantime, I’m sharing a series of entertaining, sometimes gross, and always enlightening animated shorts called “The Meatrix.” If you have seen the movie “The Matrix,” you will probably love them. The protagonist pig Leo is guided by hero Moopheus to learn the truth about agribusiness meat production (The Meatrix I), dairy production (The Meatrix II), and the fast food industry (The Meatrix II 1/2). The series was produced by The Sustainable Table project and has received numerous film awards.

The Cary Town Council should probably watch these before their vote 🙂 Go Chickens!!!

Day 31–Hillsborough Cheese Company

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Not sure which cheese you would love? You can try 'em before you buy 'em!

My child is in love. With a cheese.

Really, it could be worse, right? This sweet infatuation began at the Western Wake Farmer’s Market, where we visited the booth of artisanal cheese makers The Hillsborough Cheese Company (hillsboroughcheese.wordpress.com). We had been looking for a local cheese source, and were thrilled to find the cheese booth, complete with tasting opportunities. We sampled a few and ended up purchasing some Eno Sharp for grilled cheese and some fresh mozzarella for pizza.

Then, we tried the Bloomin’ Sweet Ash, an aged goat cheese that gets its ashy exterior from the application of a food grade vegetable ash. Really! They describe the cheese this way: ‘The result is a creamy, gooey layer surrounding a delicious, chevre-like spreadable center that alternates between notes of sweetness and bitterness.” My child believes this is the best cheese. Ever. I heard about the virtues and superior quality of this cheese all the way home. Apparently, I am going to be adding this to my list next week.

Hillsborough Cheese Company offers a nice range of cow and goat milk cheeses made with locally produced milk. Their cow milk comes from Maple View Farm in Orange County, which sets the standard in our area for high quality, no growth hormone milk from pasture raised cows. Their goat milk comes from similar high quality goat dairies in the area. Cheesemaker Cindy West focuses on crafting European style cheeses and it appears that they have some standard offerings as well as some seasonal varieties that take advantage of available local ingredients.

So how was the cheese? We tried the Eno Sharp in our grilled cheese last night and all of us agreed it was amazing. It had perfect melting qualities and a wonderful milky taste that was not overly sharp, but had enough flavor that we could really taste the cheese. Hard to describe (I’m not a cheese expert by any means). We would definitely do this again.

The mozzarella is a fresh, hand stretched mozzarella that we used on our homemade pizzas. It was so much more flavorful than store-bought pizza cheese that I don’t think we’ll ever go back to shredded cheese in a bag. A $4.00 round of cheese made enough grated cheese for two pizzas, so that’s $2.00 a pizza–definitely within our budget.

Hillsborough Cheese Company cheese is available at some farmer’s markets in the area–check their website for specific information. As for me, I’ll be heading out Saturday to purchase some Bloomin’ Sweet Ash for my bloomin’ sweetie.