Farmers' Kitchen—A Fraîche Start
Margaret Osha—Turkey Hill Farm
Written onDecember 01 , 2008
As I write this article, I am looking out at our first snowfall of the season. Though insignificant, it’s a hint of what’s to come. I reflect back over the summer and give thanks for the abundance we harvested from our small farm: the root cellar is neatly packed; the freezers are filled with our vegetables, grass-fed meats, and pastured poultry; and the shelves are stocked with canned goods, maple syrup, and homemade wine.
Our two milk cows, Lily and Blossom, also made a generous contribution, furnishing us with wonderful raw milk and dairy products, and plenty of milk for our many customers. Raw milk, especially from grass-fed cows, is a wonderful live food containing many hard-to-get vitamins and enzymes. Consumed in its whole form before pasteurization and homogenization, it is also said to be more digestible.
At our farm, we also culture many different products from our milk. Here is a simple technique for creating one of our favorite and most versatile cultured products—crème fraîche. Crème fraîche is a European-style sour cream, silky and thick, with a more delicate flavor than sour cream. It pairs well with smoked salmon topped with fresh dill on a cracker, and works well as a spread on freshly baked quick bread. My husband Stuart’s favorite way to use crème fraîche is on a hot baked potato. You can also deglaze meat juices from a roasting pan and make a reduction sauce incorporating crème fraîche.
I begin with fresh, raw cream straight from the refrigerator. If you prefer, you can use pasteurized half-and-half as long as it is not ultra pasteurized. (Culturing is said to restore many of the enzymes destroyed during pasteurization.) Raw cream crème fraîche will keep 7 to 10 days, while the pasteurized product will keep about two weeks.
Margaret Osha and her husband, Stuart, own Turkey Hill Farm in Randolph Center. A winter cooking series will start January 10 and run for three consecutive Saturdays; for more information, go to www.turkeyhillfarmvt.com or call 802-728-7064.
The Oshas are also members of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which educates the public about raw milk. To learn about the local chapter they are forming, call the number above. A three-part series on raw milk and traditional diets will start January 11 and run for three consecutive Sundays. Call for more information or check the website www.westonaprice.org