What's Fabulous: Bobolink Dairy & Bakeyard
Rustic Breads and Cheeses Made From Grass-Fed Cow's Milk
Cheesemakers Nina and Jonathan White run a 200-acre dairy farm in northwestern New Jersey, about an hour from midtown Manhattan where they raise cows that eat grass while roaming free. From their cows' milk they make 12 different kinds of cheese which is aged 2 to 24 months in their own ripening rooms. What's available will depend upon the time of year, but the selection will usually include a buttery and full-flavored cave-ripened cheddar with a natural rind; Baudolino, which is Brie-like; and Frolic, a firm cheese with a delicate, nutty flavor. There are also limited edition cheeses and seasonal specials so ask for what's new.
The cheese is made from spring to fall but it's sold year-round both at their farm and at two Manhattan Greenmarkets, Lincoln Center and Union Square. Bobolink is at Lincoln Square on Thursdays and Saturdays, and at Union Square on Fridays.
Cheese, Meats and Wood Fire-Baked Breads
Nina and Jonathan White also have a magical wood-fired brick oven in which they make superb rustic breads using organic grains, fresh local herbs, dried fruits and nuts and natural leavens. The breads include ciabattas (some with their own cow's cheese or roasted garlic and duck fat baked on the surface of the breads which can only be described as WOW), fiacelles with dried cranberries and nuts, whole wheat coarse and flavorful rounds, and rosemary scented rolls. All have the combination of tender, chewy insides with an outside dark crust that only seems possible when bread is baked in a wood-fired oven.
Although not sold at the Greenmarkets, Bobolink also sells grass-fed beef, whey-fed pork and suckled veal. Meats are sold either at their farm, by telephone order, or on-line. The pork and veal are not always available; you can sign up for e-mail notices when it is. The beef is either shipped direct, or with a pre-arrangement, delivered frozen for you to pick up at one of the Greenmarket locations, after it's been purchased either by phone or on-line.
The Whites demonstrate the excellence and flavor that can come from humane, sustainable agriculture and professionals who are equally dedicated to what they describe as "education, research and recreation." They offer internships in cheesemaking, grass-fed dairy farming, and bread baking and clearly hope that theirs is a passion and mission that others will share and help carry on.
Next time you're making a plan to visit a Greenmarket, try planning your schedule and destination around Bobolink Dairy & Bakeyard. Buy a loaf of bread and a piece of cheese and say hello to these wonderful people to cheer them on in the revolutionary and fabulously flavorful work that they do.