Cheese of the Week: Firefly Farms Moo & Blue
This "true blue" was awarded a Gold medal at the 2021 World Cheese Awards last week.
Image and logo by Firefly Farms via their website.
Firefly Farms' first 100% cow's milk blue cheese, Moo & Blue is dense, rich and buttery yet maintains a clean flavor profile. Moo & Blue is a blue cheese lovers dream, as it is packed full of the blue flavor we all know and love without a bitter aftertaste. As it ages, its slightly-sweet taste and blue piquancy become more prominent and robust. When young, Moo & Blue has a dense, semi-hard texture that makes it perfect for crumbling on salads, burgers or steak. As it nears its expiration date, its texture becomes more creamy and fudgy. Clean, funky and slightly-sweet, this super versatile cheese is a must-try!
Moo & Blue starts with fresh, local cow's milk. The fresh milk is pasteurized and then cooled down. Cultures and vegetarian rennet is added to the milk and it is left to form curds. Cheese makers hand scoop the curds into molds, press and dry-salt them. After 2-3 days, the wheels are dry rubbed with kosher salt and then left to age. At the first sign of mold growth, cheesemakers puncture the cheese with large, stainless steel needles to to allow the mold to travel into the cavities and create optimal veining. Moo & Blue is aged for a total of 4 months to fully develop its blue notes and slightly-sweet finish.
Firefly Farms, located in Accident, Maryland, is Maryland's most awarded cheesemaker. Part of the reason that Firefly's cheese tastes so delicious is their commitment to the well-being of animals, environment, farmers and the local community. The cheeses are made only with simple, natural ingredients: pasteurized milk, bacterial cultures, vegetable rennet, and salt. Every step of the cheese making process happens by hand, not with machines. Not only does this method produce better cheese, but it puts people to work in an area where jobs have become scarce.
All of the milk that Firefly uses to produce their award-winning cheeses comes from family farms within a 30-mile radius. Firefly has a contract with these farmers that commits them to humane animal treatment and forbids the use antibiotics, hormones, and chemical or synthetic animal feeds. Farmers are not forced to meet a milk quota, meaning that they do not need to manipulate their herds to produce milk all-year round and the animals can cycle naturally. In exchange for this high-quality milk, farmers are paid a fair wage.
Firefly aims to reduce waste anywhere possible. This includes a whey disposal and donation system. According to Firefly Farm's website, ""Leftover" whey is captured in a special closed system and is productively used to support [their] neighbor agri-businesses. This protein-rich, bio-active liquid is not dumped into public sewer or septic; it is captured, refrigerated, picked up by local farmers and fed to livestock. The whey that is not distributed to [the] local community is safely disposed of at our local water treatment facility." You can happily enjoy Firefly's cheeses not only for their scrumptious taste, but knowing that you are supporting a business that prioritizes the well-being of the local community and the health of the herd.
Moo & Blue's slightly-sweet flavor is complimented by sweet accompaniments such as honey or jam. This cheese's piquant blue flavor is the perfect pairing for Pinot Noir or Cabernet and gamey meats such as duck and lamb. You can purchase Moo & Blue directly from Firefly Farms by clicking here!