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This morning, my sole mission at the Green City Market was to buy tomato, pepper, and lettuce seedlings, but I knew I'd have a hard enough time staying within budget on that simple task (God help me, I took home a fig tree). So I signed a blood oath not to buy anything else, particularly cheese, since I still have a refrigerator full from my recent trip to Grassfields Organic Cheese in Michigan and other adventures.
And yet it was impossible to maintain laser focus once I spotted the Saxon Homestead Creamery stand offering samples of three of their raw-milk cheeses. Like Grassfields, Saxon, based in Cleveland, Wisconsin, raises and milks its own rotationally grass-grazed cows; the creamery produces seven cheeses from their unpasteurized milk. The one that grabbed me today was the semi-soft, washed-rind Green Fields cheese. The woman in the booth told me this was an original recipe modeled on the Dutch style of cheese making, but what it really reminded me of was a Belgian Trappist cheese, with multilayered, lingering flavors. Yet when I got my half-pound home and shaved some off, it made me think of something entirely different, more of a slightly sharp and nutty Emmenthal. My confusion just cements it: this is a magical cheese that defies description.
Incidentally, I neglected to mention last week that you can buy Jesse Meerman's Grassfields cheeses at Fox & Obel and at the Green City Market on Saturdays.