Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sullivan's Pond

I hope you have experienced the pleasure of Sullivan's Pond goat cheese.  I remember my first taste- Casey unwrapped a fig leaf to reveal a fresh, soft chèvre which was dusted with salt and pepper. That was three years ago- and I still remember it so clearly!  I had eaten goat cheese before, but never as fresh as that one.  This past Sunday, Slow Food board members Ashley, Amanda, and I had the great privilege of meeting the folks behind the cheese, Rona and Tim Sullivan, at their Wake,Va farm.

Rona and Tim with their fine pup Murphy*
 We came prepared to help with chores and projects on the farm.  Since it was a little dreary when we arrived, we sipped tea and got to know each other in the Sullivan's kitchen.  Other friends of the farm arrived, and we helped prepare the soap for next week's market.
Rona cuts soap for the market.*
We talked a lot about what farmers need in order to get their products to consumers through markets, restaurants and groceries. Small business considerations like health insurance and marketing are complicated by the demands of a farm and travel time.  It was eye- opening to hear a farmer's perspective.
Sullivan's Pond Micro Dairy includes an aging area for the blue cheese and Mill Creek.*
We did fit in a little bit of weeding once the sun came out.  We also learned what kind of things a goat will eat... Most green things, really!  The Sullivan's have several different breeds, each with their own dispositions and milk qualities.  The goats each had names- celestial or floral mostly.  Tim said he is not allowed to name them after Star Trek characters.  I have no idea how they keep track of them all!

Goats love vetch!!
One of my favorite parts of Sullivan's Pond cheese is the all natural packaging.  Fig leaves, chestnut leaves and corn husks are all an essential part of the experience. One of the jobs we took on was harvesting chestnut and fig leaves for future use.
Rona shows us how.*

My stash.*
The farm is an idyllic setting and the Sullivan's are the most wonderful people.  We hope you can join us on a workday there sometime soon. We are definitely going back.  If you want to try their cheese (as you should),  it is available at the South of the James market, as well as at Whole Foods and Ellwood Thompson.
The ladies on the farm.*
Sullivan's Pond Farm has the most beautiful chickens and goats ever!  Look at these sweet chicks*
and happy goats!*

*All photos by Ashley Cunningham


  1. A wonderful post and I too love this farm and all that it brings tomarket!

  2. My friend, you've captured the day perfectly. Love Ashley's picture of you dappled with sunlight, holding your bucket of fig leaves!

  3. Looks like a wonderful day- Thanks Erin! Also Taste Buds says they use Sullivan's Pond cheeses sometimes for their wine and cheese tastings.