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Category: Picks of the Week
Posted by: Sam Edelman
Cheddar cheese

Spring Hill Cheese of Petaluma continues to impress me with its selection of cheeses. I typically pick up something from the line of aged (one to three years) cheddars, which include sage, garlic, white and yellow, smoked and spicy firehouse. They're perfect for adding to fondue this time of year, when it tends to be chilly at night. Try a Cheddar, Asparagus, Spinach and Bacon Fondue, the Fix of the Week on page D8. Available at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Wednesday Solvang, Thursday Goleta, Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real farmers markets. About $10 per pound.


Delicious, fresh asparagus is available at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real markets from Life's A Choke Family Farm in Lompoc. These tight tender bunches are perfect for steaming, grilling or sautčing. Asparagus contains a good supply of folate (folic acid), as well as some vitamin C and beta-carotene. It also contains the phytochemical glutathione, which has antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. About $3 per bunch, with deals available on three bunches.


From the wheat field to the mill, then from the oven to the farmers market, this locally produced bread is absolutely delicious. Perfect for sandwiches or serving alongside hot soup or chowder. Or top with thinly sliced prosciutto, sliced tomato, red onion and arugula, then drizzle with balsamic dressing. Baked by Creekside Apple Ranch in Santa Ynez the morning of the market. Available at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Wednesday Solvang and Saturday Santa Barbara markets. Free of preservatives, the bread is $3 per loaf.

Category: Recipes
Posted by: Sam Edelman
By now, if you're a farmers market regular, you've probably tried the delicious fresh cheese available from Spring Hill Cheese. But if you haven't tried the farm's amazing cheddars, jacks, curds, quarks or award-winning Old World Portuguese, you don't know what you're missing. What a difference it makes to have fresh estate cheese (cheese that is manufactured from a single location) available at your fingertips. The cows eat lush green grass and their milk is used to make cheese right there in the cheese-making room. It is then aged, cut and packaged for distribution, all on the same Sonoma County dairy, then brought as fresh as possible to the local farmers markets. A herd of 400 Jersey cows provides the milk for Spring Hill Cheese's growing line of farmstead cheeses. Smaller than Holsteins (the typical black-and-white cow), which produce a greater yield of milk, Jersey cows' milk contains more butter fat, resulting in a rich, creamy flavor. Because of its low-quantity yield, the Jersey cow is no longer common in most commercial dairy operations.

Spring Hill Cheese owner Larry Peter began his dairy in 1987 and started producing his product in 1998. The cheese is made entirely from the milk of pasture-grazed Jersey cows. The difference in taste is unbelievable!

The number of Spring Hill cheeses available at the farmers markets is impressive, with something for every culinary use -- from rich, creamy quarks, ideal for bagels, to award-winning sage and sharp white cheddars, perfect for roast beef sandwiches, to soft teleme jack, just right for quesadillas. You can find other cheeses -- and butters -- at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Thursday Goleta, Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real farmers markets.

All Spring Hill cheeses are produced with all-natural, 100 percent cultured Grade A jersey milk; salt; and enzymes. That's it! No artificial hormones! The fresh cheeses are aged from three to five weeks; the jacks, three to six months; and the cheddars, six to nine months.

If you're planning on hosting a party anytime soon, Spring Hill Cheese is a must. Your guests will be blown away by the flavor and selection if you put out a spread of the cheeses. Another great idea for a party is fondue, particularly in these cooler months. There are endless recipes for fondue, but one of my favorites incorporates aged cheddar, fresh asparagus, spinach and, of course, a little bacon. Served with fresh bread and sliced apples from the Creekside Apple Ranch in Santa Ynez, also at the market, you can't go wrong.

For a full list of cheeses available from Spring Hill Cheese, as well as more information on the farm, go to

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