Imagine Jersey cows, with their big beautiful eyes, grazing the most beautiful East Bay pastures, surrounded by old stone walls and views that go right down to the ocean. Farm fresh milk, cheese, meat and yogurt are made on site at a beautiful farm in Little Compton. These happy cows live on Sweet and Salty Farm, and they have a wonderful life. Andrew Morley and Laura Haverland are the husband and wife duo who run the farm along with their team of fellow milkmaids and farmhands.
“We care about making really high quality food that we can feel good about feeding to our family, including our three-year-old daughter [Annie],” says Laura. “The best part about farming and being part of a local food community is knowing that our neighbors, friends and customers feel confident in the quality and ingredients in our yogurt, cheese and meat. We don't use chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, GMOs or any strange ingredients. That's what we look for in what we put on our table at home, too.”
The use of Jersey cows was no mistake. Apparently, they make wonderfully rich, flavorful milk that Andrew and Laura think makes delicious yogurt and cheese. Although it's not a breed that produces the most milk, they're very well suited to being grass-fed, they thrive outdoors and they make excellent mothers. Because the Sweet and Salty Farm herd is expanding every year, mothering skills are very important. But perhaps most importantly, the herd receives plenty of head scratches.
They also raise veal on site and make sure to give their bull calves the best life possible. “We understand people's general reluctance to eat veal. In fact, we never ate veal until we raised some veal calves last year because of the horrible way that most veal is raised in confinement,” Laura says. “But the truth about dairy farming is that the bull (male) calves really don't have a role on a dairy farm, and raising them for meat does give them a purpose in the natural order of things. Our bull calves… get the best pastures on our farm and live alongside their mothers, nursing and grazing, until [they are] about six to eight months. Also, I don't think most people are aware that the average chicken we eat in America has only lived about six to eight weeks! Grass-fed veal the way that we raise it is really a more tender, flavorful version of grass-fed beef.”
As far as their dairy products, Andrew and Laura have always been big consumers of yogurt. They are proud to make their own with nothing other than the Jersey cow’s milk and yogurt cultures – no added sugar, preservatives, thickeners or any of that junk. What’s more is that the yogurt reflects the seasonality of the farm and how the milk changes with the seasons.
They’ve also introduced their first cheese this year and are selling it at farmer’s markets all fall long. “It's called Peach Fuzz, and it's a cow's milk cheese that we age about two to three months,” Laura explains. “We named it Peach Fuzz for the beautiful orange and pink colors that develop on the rind during the aging process.”
With all that’s going on at Sweet and Salty Farm, I can only imagine what they have up their sleeves for the years to come. I’ll be waiting patiently, spoon in hand.
Sweet and Salty Farm
Restaurant Week Comes to the Bay
Mark your calendars for the first ever East Bay Restaurant Week coming to an eatery near you. From October 23-November 1, explore prix-fixe menus at lunch for $15, and dinner for $30. Now’s the time to try that bistro you’ve had your eye on or the pub you never seem to have the time to go to. Some participating restaurants include Simone's, Lobster Pot, Madeira, Pizzico, (Barrington location) El Mariachi and Bluewater Bar and Grill, to name a few. In true Bay fashion, many of the ingredients are locally-sourced, just like the diners. So get out, try something new, and enjoy all that the Bay and southern Massachusetts have to offer. For more information and the list of participating restaurants, visit www.EastBayRIRestaurantweek.com.
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