|Yellow Springs Farm LLC is located in Chester Springs, Chester County, Pa. Pennsylvania. The eight-acre farm and nursery consists of an historic farmhouse, dairy barn, a springhouse with pond. Originally a dairy farm 150 years ago, the farm was purchased in 2001 protecting it from future development with a conservation easement.
On the farm, owners Catherine and Al Renzi make fresh and aged goat-milk cheeses in addition to operating a native plant nursery. The couple follows the highest standards for quality and sustainability to breed and raise Nubian dairy goats carefully selected for their naturally nutrient-rich milk. The herd browses pasture, cleans up invasive plant species in the woodland, basks in the sun and eats local hay and organic grains.
Al and Catherine follow age-old processes borrowed from both French and Italian traditions to make Yellow Springs Farm Cheese. Each small batch is handmade and never includes preservatives or anything artificial. The farm offers fresh, pasteurized milk cheeses, and exclusive raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or more. Given the cheese makers’ inclusion of farm-raised herbs, nuts and honey, you’ll find there’s always a new, unique cheese to try.
Yellow Springs Farm is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Farmstead & Artisan Cheese Alliance.
You can order Yellow Springs Farm Cheese through the farm’s cheese CSA (community supported agriculture) program. CSA cheese shares are delivered either the first and third weeks, or second and fourth weeks of each month, depending on your pick-up site. Cheese also can be picked up by appointment when ordered by phone or e-mail. Yellow Springs Farm welcomes visitors; call or e-mail for an appointment.
Our Cheese Varieties
Fresh goat cheese
This fresh cheese represents our first crop of fresh berries from the farm. Several of the native berry species that we grow and offer to customers are blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. In this week’s fresh cheese we added the best of the crop and created a spread with a berry mixture. Notice a slightly tart, slightly sweet flavor to go with the tanginess of the goat cheese. Feel free to enjoy this as either an appetizer or dessert cheese.
Our feta is slightly aged cheese (less than 30 days.) The Yellow Springs Farm Feta cheese is neither purely Greek or French. It is white, semi-soft with a tangy, salty flavor that is now very mild. Feta can be used as a table cheese, as well as in salads, pastries and in baking, notably in the popular phyllo-based dishes spanakopita (“spinach pie”) and tyropita (“cheese pie.”)
Fresh Chevre with Basil Pesto™
This fresh chevre, is made with our basil pesto combination. It contains basil, pine nuts and olive oil. It can be eaten with a nice white crisp wine, used in an omelette or if you are even more ambitious, it can be mixed with olive oil and garlic to make a great cheese sauce that can be served over a nice penne pasta.
Fresh Chevre with Honey and Sage™
This fresh cheese is a great combination of our chevre, honey from the recently harvested bee hives and sage from our herb garden. What a delectable combination of sweet, aromatic, and herbal blends balanced by the acidity and creaminess of the goat cheese.
Fresh Chevre with Italian Herbs™
This fresh chevre (soft goat milk cheese) is creamy and smooth, with a touch of salt and Italian herbs. The cheese offers the essence of a fresh spring goat milk cheese. This light cheese pairs well with a crisp white wine. Enjoy this cheese with crackers, or as part of a salad or pasta sauce.
Fresh Chevre with Pepper and Garlic™
This fresh chevre (soft goat milk cheese) is blended with garlic and pepper. It is creamy and smooth, with a touch of salt. This light cheese pairs well with a crisp white wine. Enjoy this cheese with crackers, or as part of a salad or pasta sauce.
Southern Italy is famous for its Buffalo milk Mozzarella, but Chester County now has Goat milk Mozzarella. Like Buffalo milk, goat milk is richer than cow milk. Mozzarella is traditionally hand formed or cut. Our cheese is not overworked into fancy forms, as it quickly loses texture when handled too much. Enjoy the smooth texture and salty edge perfect for fresh produce.
Think fall weather, pumpkin pie, turning leaves, hot apple cider and all of the flavor, spices and aromas that these thoughts conjur up. We developed Holiday Spice to reflect the season and the spices that turn up in cider and pumpkin pie. The spices hit your tongue first and gradually the goat cheese flavor comes through at the end. This cheese is best eaten within two to three weeks from the date stamp on the container.
The Rosemary between our grapevine rows is finally big enough to season a full week’s cheese shares. We hate to mow the rows between our trellis wired, and are thrilled to see this space become part of our Farm’s edible landscape. Rosemary goat cheese is a nice change for simple crackers, but it is also great on a baked potato instead of butter. You can even whip some cheese into potato as you would for a twice -baked potato preparation.
SURFACE RIPENED CHEESE
Black Diamond is the third in line of what we call our surface ripened cheese. This cheese is a pasteurized milk cheese that is molded in pyramid-shaped containers. After the cheese drains for a period of time, we coat the cheese with salt and vegetable ash. Yes, vegetable ash. Why would we want to cover our cheese with ash?The ash is almost tasteless, but it helps neutralize the surface of the cheese so that the ripening agents in the cheese can do their job and optimize the potential of the milk from our Nubian Goats. This cheese is aged for approximately 3 weeks when you receive it. It is ready to eat now. If you would prefer a softer, runnier cheese, give it another 2-4 weeks. Exact timing is hard, since ripening depends on your refrigeration conditions. When the cheese is soft and a bit runny, almost like a ripe peach, the cheese should be eaten within several days. When it gets to this stage, flavors tends to be stronger and have a sharp bite. It is heaven on earth for the cheese lover in all of us
Bliss is created in the European tradition for surface ripened cheese. We offered this cheese as one of our first cheeses of the season. It was a bit riper at the time. We think of it as a cross between Brie and Camembert. We strive to make our cheeses unique, so we do not try to mimic these already great cheeses. Bliss is aged 2-4 weeks. It starts out on the mild side, with hints of mushroom and nuttiness. As it ripens, it becomes softer, even a little runny around the edges, and the taste becomes more sharp. You can hold this cheese until it gets a little softer and runnier to experience the optimum flavor characteristics. It will have a bit more bite at this point. This cheese will last in the fridge for 2-4 weeks depending on stage of ripeness and your refrigerator conditions. Please keep it wrapped in the cheese paper we provide. Do not add plastic bags, plastic wraps, or containers; it needs to breathe. If it starts to get soft and runny, it is at its peak ripeness and should be eaten within 1-2 days.
It is a French-style, surface ripened cheese. If you like stinky cheese with a pungent flavor and a bit of a bite on the back of your tongue, this is the cheese for you. It’s great as an after dinner cheese paired with dessert wine.
We visited many cheesemakers in Piedmont, Italy two years ago. We were immediately introduced to Robiola–the local cheese of choice. Most farms make Robiola cheese traditionally including blended milk from both cows and goats. A few farms made Robiola from goat mllk alone. While there, we tasted lots of Robiola paired with delicious wines created with the Piedmont’s unique Nebbiolo grape, such as Barbaresco and Barolo.
Nobiolo is our tribute to all the nice people who taught us, hosted us, and shared good food and wine with us in and around Alba and the Piedmont region.
Your Nobioloa will range from mild to stronger tasting based on when you receive it and how long you keep it. This cheese is creamy, slightly salty, with a bit of a stronger finish.
This cheese offers an earthy and nutty quality from being aged in the farm’s cheese cave for six to eight weeks. The outside texture is smooth, and the inside is semi-soft. Great for pairing with wine and as a part of an after-dinner cheese plate. Fieldstone gets its name from the many fieldstone rocks in our soil which we think contributes to the overall terroir of this cheese.
Nutcracker™ 1st Place American Cheese Society Award Winner
Nutcracker has a long story. It started when we decided to make Nocino, an Italian liqueur with black walnuts from our farm. The process involves picking the walnuts in June/July, and creating a infusion solution that steeps for 60 days. Then, it is bottled and aged for three-six months. The timing works out great, since it is perfect for the holidays. “What does this all have to do with cheese?,” We took the spent walnut fruits from the Nocino and immersed a wheel of our goat cheese in it for 60 days. We created a semi-soft aged cheese, with a flavor from the walnut fermentation and a mottled rind, that is great for serving with rich winter meals, or as an after dinner cheese. It was very popular during the holidays, so we decided to make it a part of our cheese offerings year-round. Nutcracker has been aged for up to 90 days.
Nutty Goat is our second CSA cheese dressed with our supply of YSF raw honey. It offers sweet, salty, tangy, and nutty flavors–almost a complete meal–with a slightly tart finish. We used both almonds and walnuts to finish this lightly aged soft cheese.
This is a 60 day aged cheese with peppercorns sprinkled throughout the paste of the cheese. This natural rind cheese has a mild taste that offers a spicy surprise when the occasional peppercorn melts in your mouth. The rind on this cheese is edible.
We are located in West Pikeland township, an area rich in history. Back in the early 18th century, William Penn granted land to Joseph Pike, originally from Ireland. We think cheese, like wine, should exemplify a sense of place. In honor of this idea, we have named one of our aged raw milk cheeses after Joseph Pike. When he settled the land , he came with the “promise” of new life and the opportunity to raise a family and prosper. The virgin forests full of chestnut trees of yesteryear and open space are now gone, but with our dairy tradition, we continue to make strides in developing cheese that our ancestors would be proud of. We hope that Pikeland’s Promise achieves that goal. This cheese is carefully aged in our cave for 60-90 days or longer. During that time, the rind goes through a wonderful transformation from yellow to mottled dark and light tones. These marks impart the flavor components that are particular to this cheese. The cheese itself has a firm texture. The rind is edible and does impart a certain earthiness.
Rapp’s General Store was a stone’s throw from our front door in the days when groceries were delivered, and neighbors stopped in to settle their accounts once a month or so, only after catching up on newsy gossip, and seeing more than a few familiar faces. Many still refer to this triangle intersection, now converted to homes, as Rapp’s Corner, but newcomers are confounded given there is no sign or marker here—just stories told from neighbor to neighbor. Rapp’s Round cheese is a comfort food. It is easy to eat with nuts, crackers, or even a nice ale—yes, beer! This aged cheese is likable—we think you’ll want to get to know it better. Rapp’s Round has deep layers of flavors, like the rich Rapp family history. Mushroom notes come out prominently, and the tangy finish lingers on the tongue.
This is a semi-soft, earthy cheese with a slightly rugged texture. It’s wrapped and aged in the farm’s Sycamore tree leaves that have been soaked in red wine. The cheese has been aged for greater than 45 days. The Sycamore leaves impart and earthy flavor and you do get hints of the red wine in the rind area. This cheese can be eaten now or aged for another few weeks, if desired. This cheese will last a month or more with proper wrapping and refrigeration.
Spring Fever is one of our first raw milk cheeses of the season. You might be wondering why we would name a cheese Spring Fever when all we seem to be experiencing lately is August weather with the associated heat and humidity. Spring Fever was created from milk that we collected in the Spring when the grass was turning green and we were seeing the first bud break on trees. This cheese is aged for a minimum of 30 days. During that time, the cheese develops a complexity and taste that reflects the earthiness of the aging conditions combined with the complexity of the milk that we use. We carefully brush and turn our aged cheeses at least once a week to insure proper rind development and aging.
Yellow Brick Road™
Yellow Brick Road is named for its yellowish rind and the fact that we live on Yellow Springs Road, an area historically known for its healing yellow springs, common to our area. This cheese which has been aged for 60 days, is on the dryer side versus other cheeses that we have released to date. It also has a bit of sharpness to it, like a provolone. This cheese is edible as an after dinner cheese with a red wine or if you dare, it can be served as a grated cheese. This cheese will age in the refrigerator a bit longer, but the cheese may become a little too dry. So, enjoy and savor the delights of this delicate but more complex cheese from the cave.