GOOD GOAT: Beltane Farm makes FABULOUS goat cheese & yogurt!
Have you tried it yet? I'm hooked on both the fresh chèvre (with chives or Herbes de Provence--they make a peppercorn one, too) and their creamy goat yogurt. Yesterday we picked up some ripened Beltane's Grace. It has a delightful lemony tang to it and I loved it on some rosemary crostini I picked up at Whole Foods.
Info from their website re where to find them at local farmers' markets.
SUMMER FARMERS' MARKET SEASON
90% of our cheese is sold directly to our customers at open-air summer markets in Connecticut.
Westport Farmers' Market at the Westport Country Playhouse.
Deep River Farmers' Market.
Lyme Farmers' Market ( www.farmcoffee.com)
Ledyard Farmers' Market at the TriTown Plaza.
New Haven Farmers' Market
Greenwich Farmers' Market
Milford Farmers' Market
Lebanon Farmers' Market
Old Saybrook Farmers' Market
Lyme Farmers' Market ( www.farmcoffee.com )
Storrs Farmers' Market ( www.localharvest.org )
Stonington Farmers' Market (9:00am to noon by the docks in Stonington Bourough)
Coventry Farmers' Market 11:00am to 2:00pm
Mystic Farmers' Market
LOCAL STORES AND COOPERATIVES
Willimantic Food Coop ( www.willimanticfood.coop ) Willimantic, Connecticut
Fromage Fine Foods, Old Saybrook, Connecticut
Priam Winery (www.priamvineyards.com) Colchester, Connecticut
Feast Gourmet Market, Deep River, Connecticut
Whitneyville Food Center, Hamden, Connecticut
Liuzzi Cheese, North Haven, Connecticut
Whole Foods Markets, West Hartford and Glastonbury
Highland Park Market, Glastonbury
La Petite France French bakery (www.lapetitefrance-frenchbakery.com )
They make a nice product, true. But I had a terrible buying experience from them at last year's New Haven Farmers' Market that left a bad enough taste in my mouth (yes, pun intentional) that I'm not in a hurry to buy again. So, just be prepared - I guess depending on whom you get to help you, it can be a non-traumatic experience.
Interesting that you said "dried" herbs. When we got it at the Farmers Market in Fairfield it was 100% fresh herbs, including real, fresh lavender. The Herbs de Provence from Beltane might be one of my favorite goat cheeses now. Also love their "plain" goat cheese. It's much better when it isn't shrink wrapped, but shrink wrapped is good too. The owners indicated they use shrink wrapping for the extra cheese that is made when the goats are lactaiting and it helps tide them over while the goats are not lactaiting.
As for the experience, we actually bought from the owners at the market and they seemed nice (in a hippie sort of way). They indicated that we could visit the farm, taste cheese, and bring a picnic. When we asked about bringing wine, they said it wasn't allowed but that they didn't have very good eyesight (wink, wink).
As for purchasing, the Fairfield Cheese company (next to Harry's Wines) carries it on a regular basis.
I bought some today at the Marlborough farmers market (Beltane is there - market is every Sunday 11-3). I picked up the plain and it is lovely...somewhat mild as my better half isn't thrilled with "the goat cheese tang" as he calls it, but he likes Beltane's.
Beltane's fresh chevre is the greatest. If you have friends that will simply not try goat, tell them that it is Philly cream cheese and they will not know the difference. If you have the time, take a trip to there farm in Lebannon, CT. Nice, quiet, peaceful.