It’s Spring at Mariposa Creamery!

Spring = eggs. Finally!

Spring = eggs. Finally!

Our stone fruit trees are blooming and the goats have spring fever! Our kidding season is about to begin–in fact, today is Mint’s due date, although I expect her to hold out until the rain stops. We’ll have 7 goats kidding between now and July. The best way to keep up with new arrivals is by following our facebook page.

Our Creamery set up for bread making class with Erik from Root Simple

Our Creamery set up for bread making class with Erik from Root Simple

The next series of cheese making classes starts Saturday, April 19th and still has some space available. You can read about the cheese making classes and register online at the Institute of Domestic Technology. Lots of other classes on the calendar as well, of course.

Delicious cheese tasting for students

Delicious cheese tasting for students

We’ve just opened up our Farmstay calendar for May bookings. There are still some weekdays available in March at a discount too.

In the next few weeks we will be hosting several school tours (3rd graders from the local Waldorf School and 6th graders from Oakwood School in Hollywood), a girl scout troop from Moorpark, and a couple of private events for local families.

We are SUPER excited about the Wild Food Dinner we are hosting for local foragers / foodcrafters Pascal and Mia from Transitional Gastronomy on March 15. We are having a blast working on what might be the first ever wine pairings for the flavors of the San Gabriel Mountains. Although this dinner is already sold out, we don’t expect it to be our last. If you are interested in experiencing their real Southern California Cuisine, follow their amazing photos here.

Speaking of transitions, we are in the process of saying good bye to some of our dairy interns who have made their mark on our herd and home, and are now off on new adventures. Megan is headed to Washington to try her hands at vegetable farming and living in a tiny 10×12 cabin. Emilie is moving to Athens, Georgia to catch up with a friend from college. And Peele is headed back to Brazil for an amazing project at a museum. But we are blessed with many new additions to our team! If you are interested in our dairy internship program, send us an email.

Rupert leads our morning walk at Angeles Crest Creamery

Rupert leads our morning walk at Angeles Crest Creamery

We continue to make progress at the new ranch Angeles Crest Creamery too. Our tiny house is almost ready, and then we can have the barn raising. We’ve been working with the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service representatives to learn more about the available forage including the wide variety of perennial grasses, and also to build a plan to increase plantings in the riperian area around the small lake to make more habitat for wildlife. Right now there is a sweet family of ducks in the lake with babies taking off on practice flights.

Mariposa Creamery is an educational project that is funded in part by our cheese making classes and our farmstay program, but mostly by our day jobs. Unfortunately this means we are not available to host individual visitors, since when we aren’t milking with our farmstay guests in the mornings, or teaching classes on the weekends, we are at work just like everyone else! Thank you for your understanding.

We hope to see you soon!

Gloria & Steve

Book by midnight Friday and get 1 night free!

AirBnB has announced a special for first-time AirBnB customers! If you’ve been thinking about coming to visit our farm, now is a great time to book your stay. Book 2 nights and get 1 night free for stays between now and March 31. Our kidding season starts in early March, so if you book for the 2nd half of March there are likely to be lots of babies to play with, and you might even get lucky and get to witness a birth!

AirBnB Cover Photo

Click here to read about the special and get the coupon code.

Click here to see our listing.

We hope to see you on soon!

Gloria & Steve

New Cheese Making Series Starts January 11

Rupert Photo

Our next series of cheese making classes, which will begin in January, has been posted to the Institute of Domestic Technology web site. Which means registration is now open! The series makes a great holiday gift for that person you want to inspire to make cheese for you! To learn more, click here.

bloomy cheese photo

And if you can’t wait for January, there are still a few spots in this weekend’s classes, just in time to skill up to make cheese for the holidays. Show up all of your food-crafty friends by giving beautiful jars of home made feta as holiday gifts, or showing up to a party with beautiful bloomy rind goat cheeses to share. We’ll teach you both in this Saturday’s Milkcrafting 102 class. You’ll also make a quick batch of mozzarella, and enjoy it for lunch on pizzas from our wood fired oven.

In Sunday’s Foodcrafting 102 class, you can learn to make the multi-seed crackers to pair with your cheeses. We’ll also be making chevre, hard apple cider, and pickled carrots. The cider is especially easy and makes a great shelf-stable gift, and is a great pairing with cheese.

At Mariposa Creamery, we don’t sell any cheese. Our goal is to teach you to make your own! To that end, we have spent a lot of time testing commercially available milks for cheese making. We recommend Summerhill (available at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods) for goat cheeses and Straus Organic Cream Top (available at Whole Foods) for cow’s milk cheeses. And here’s a tip: that Straus Organic Cream Top milk is also available at Trader Joe’s and is less expensive there–it’s just private labeled for Trader Joe’s. Although we don’t know why anyone would want to live without goats, it’s not necessary to be a successful home cheese maker. We are blessed in California with the availability of high quality and humanely produced milks in our grocery stores.

Poppyseed Buckwheat

Proceeds from our cheese making classes support our herd in Altadena, our Dairy Internship program, and our project to build a regenerative goat dairy in the Angeles National Forest at Angeles Crest Creamery. Thank you for supporting our goal of developing local, sustainable and humane dairying in Los Angeles!

If you have any questions about our classes, Farmstay, Internships or other projects, send us a note at mariposacreamery@yahoo.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Gloria & Steve

Next Series of Cheese Making Classes Posted!

3 ladies cheesemaking

Every quarter we repeat our series of 3 day-long cheese making classes covering everything from yogurt to Gouda. Our next series will start with Milkcrafting 101 on October 12. Sign up for an individual class, or for the whole series.

Goat Milking Lesson - Cella

Want to stay overnight and help milk the goats in the morning before class? Check our Farmstay calendar and book your stay in our Airstream Bambi.

Any questions? Just send us a note at mariposacreamery@yahoo.com.

Our classes and Farmstays help fund the Mariposa Creamery Internship program and our project at Angeles Crest Creamery. Thank you for your support!

Come Hang with the Herd!

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Come Hang with the Herd!

We are opening our gates Saturday December 29th from 1pm-4pm for a free community open house. Come play with the goats. Attend a cheese making demo in the Creamery at 2pm. There will be a short talk about suburban goat keeping at 3pm, also in the Creamery. Forecast shows a chance of rain, so wear your boots!

Mariposa Creamery at the Zane Grey Estate – 396 E Mariposa Street – Altadena, CA 91001 – Parking on Mariposa Street

Where did this year go?

Oh my. I’ve been busy on our facebook page but not very diligent about posting here. In fact it’s been almost a year to the day. Here’s a very brief review of what’s going on around here:

  • Our cheesemaking classes have been packed and keeping us very busy. We continue to teach our 3-part series through the Institute of Domestic Technology. The fall series is mostly sold out at this point, but there is a new series starting in January 2013.
  • Our cheesemaking classes have recently been featured in both Bon Appetit and Los Angeles Magazine! See our Press page for some links, but both of these complete pieces are only available in the print versions of the magazines.
  • We had 4 perfect babies in the spring: Apple (in image), Poppyseed, Honeybee, and Chewy. There are many many photos of all 4 on our facebook page.
  • We have been working toward opening our new restaurant in Altadena and recently finished the drawings for our Conditional Use Permit Application. We expect to file our application with LA County by the end of the year.
  • We bought 70 acres in the Angeles National Forrest where we plan to expand our goating and make cheese for both of our restaurants. The new project is called Angeles Crest Creamery, and you can see photos here.
  • Also, I continue to go to work every day as Director of Sales for Truesense Imaging.

When I review this list, I don’t feel so bad for not posting more!

Milkcrafting 102 this Saturday

We are super excited to be preparing the menu and cheese makes for this weekend’s Milkcrafting 102 class. This is the 2nd class in the 3-part series, and the class in which we teach anyone who wants to learn how to make our award-winning Mariposa Bijou mold-ripened goat cheese. Here’s the full text on the class. As of this morning, there was exactly 1 spot left. If you want it, go here. Its okay if you haven’t taken 101 yet.

The Institute of Domestic Technology: Milkcrafting 102

Mariposa Creamery, Altadena

Saturday, November 12, 2011, 9:30am – 2:00pm

9:30am                 Check in & continental breakfast

Snack                  Monkey & Son coffee served with fresh goat’s milk

                             Oatmeal scones served with chevre

                             Service will take place in the Solarium

9:45am                 Introductions

10:00am               Feta make using pasteurized goat milk from Summerhill Goat Dairy

Taste                  Fresh goat milk vs chevre vs mold ripened vs feta

                            (a lesson in flavor development)

11:00am               Mozzarella make using Organic Pastures raw cow milk

12:00pm               Lunch

Meal                     Salad of seasonal greens, garden arugula and feta cheese

                             Roasted red pepper soup with crème fraiche from The Press

                             Vegetable dish TBD based on locally available ingredients

                             Pizza with class-made mozzarella, basil from our herb garden

                             Famous Press Restaurant chocolate chip cookie, served warm                

1:00pm             Demonstration of making Mariposa Creamery’s award winning                                              Mariposa Bijou, a mold-riped goat cheese in the spirit of the typical                                        cheese of  Provence

Taste               A selection of mold-ripened goats and camembert-style cheeses                                 with both classic and unexpected wine pairings; discussion of                                     basic pairing and tasting methodologies

2:00pm                 Graduation

We will provide a tour of the goat farm and answer questions about goats and urban dairying immediately after class for any interested students.

Saturday Workshop: Goat Keeping for Dairy in Los Angeles

I have this fantasy that 5 years from now we have a dozen or more families in Altadena operating homestead dairies. We buy and store hay collectively, share breeding stock, document local best practices, and coordinate vet visits so we can convince a real goat vet that its worth his time to come all the way out to Altadena. A girl can dream, right? Also, a girl can hold a workshop.

Here are the details:

Goat curious? Live in LA County? Interested in providing your family with milk, yogurt, cheese and butter from your own homestead dairy? Come learn more at this introductory workshop at Mariposa Creamery in Altadena. We will cover the legal and practical aspects of suburban dairying—from zoning to fencing and feed. Learn about the time investment and the benefits so you can decide if home dairying is right for your family. Tour a working home dairy in action and meet the goats.

This workshop is free and registration is not required. But you can rsvp on our facebook event page if you like:

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=135516213216348

10am – 12pm, Saturday, October 29th
Mariposa Creamery at the Zane Grey Estate
396 E Mariposa Street, Altadena

Mariposa Industries, Charcuterie Division

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Last week while I was in Rochester, Steve and Kazi made sausages. This is our second sausage make here this fall. We have started to enjoy the chorizo from the last make. The sopressata looked great fermenting in the pantry. Last night they moved it into the basement to dry.DSC_0316

A year

Its been just about a year now since we started the renovation of the lower east wing of the manse, which was damaged by fire in the 1960s when Romer Grey occupied the property. You might wonder how this space could sit burned out for 50 years. But when you have 18,000 square feet, there’s always plenty of other things to work on. Since Steve and I got here, that’s mostly been waterproofing and bathrooms. But bringing this 3000 square feet back into productive use has been the most rewarding project so far.

Here’s the before, just about a year ago. We were attempting to clean it so we could temporarily store some of Alicia’s things.

This wing of the house was added by Zane Grey in 1926. There are 3 rooms downstairs and they served primarily as workshop and storage space. This is the southern-most room, and its about 900 square feet. The fire was confined to the northern-most room, which housed a photographic dark room, but the smoke damage was severe throughout the space. The upstairs portion of this wing, which was built as Zane’s library and writing studio, was not damaged in the fire and remains in its original state.

Here is the same room 1 year later, shot from the opposite side.

I can’t believe how functional this space is. On Sunday morning a cream can slipped out of my hands as I was removing it from the refrigerator. It emptied 2 gallons of milk into the inside of the fridge (every shelf, every object) and onto the floor under the appliances. As I was on my knees scrubbing the wall behind the pulled-out freezer, I was so loving the sexy Schluter cove base. It was an extravagance at the time we ordered it–one of the few things we bought new–but totally worth it.

The stainless steal cabinets were a great Craigslist find. Steve and I drove out to Corona, TWICE, to load these into the pick up truck under the blazing sun as the temperature east of the 15 approached 732 degrees. They had been removed from a small house that was being flipped, but had clearly institutional origins, as indicated by the markings on the top of the under-counter pieces: “Rm 254, cabinet 13.” We celebrated the find by ordering a big slab of carrara marble to top the set of cabinets on the east wall, for pastry and pasta work.

By far my favorite thing about the Creamery is the HOBART (parting clouds, streaming sunshine and an angel’s chorus are appropriate accompaniments to the mention of this object)–a commercial dishwasher bought used from a Chinese restaurant. The Hobart washes at 165 degrees and takes just under 3 minutes. Our largest pot, in which I could easily heat 10 gallons of milk, fits in it with room to spare. We don’t want to use any chemical detergents or sanitizers, so we wash the dishes by hand with soap nut tea first to remove any milk residue. Then the Hobart does its hot-water-sanitizing magic. And I get a mini-steam-facial every time I open the door to unload a rack of piping hot mason jars. As any farmstead cheesemaker knows, cheesemaking is 10% working with cheese and 90% doing dishes. And I am equally passionate about both parts of the job.

The windows behind Steve open into the outdoor milking area. I can milk the goats and pass the milk through the windows to Steve for immediate filtering, weighing, and icing. We put handles on the outside of the windows so they are easy to open and close from the milking side.

The beautiful oak stairs were built on-site by our housemate Robert with help from Freddy and Miguel, and are an exact replica of the original stairs.

Many aspects of the renovation are invisible. All of the windows were completely rebuilt (new pully systems shipped from their manufacturer in… wait for it…. Rochester, New York!), and screens were made for them. A radiant floor heating system was installed under the tile floor, which will make working in the Creamery much more pleasant in the winter. A new, tankless, uber-efficient hot water heater.

To think that this is only 1 of 3 rooms renovated over the past year blows my mind. All of this work was done basically by 4 people: Freddy, Miguel, Robert and Steve. This is the best gift to the house since this wing was built in 1926. I hope someone is still making cheese in here in 200 years. Thank you, guys, for an amazing job!