A Day on the Farm & At the Brewery

 

A Day on the Farm & At the Brewery

It’s finally fall, and what better way to celebrate the crisp season than a day on the farm. On Monday, October 29th, some of our Urban Farmer team visited two local farms and one local brewery for tours, and a taste of some of the delicious fare we feature in the restaurant.

Shellbark Hollow Farm, a goat dairy farm in Honey Brook, PA, was the first stop. The farm was founded and is run by Pete Demchur who, we learned, received two goats for Father’s Day years ago and there began his passion for cheese making and interest in running his own farm. During the tour, our staff split into groups and had the opportunity to not only taste the cheeses, but also meet the stars of the show – the goats- as well as all of the other farm animals including ducks, cats, and dogs!  We also toured the back of the house where the magic happens and learned about the pasteurization and cheese making process.

Our second stop was to Birchrun Hills Farm, a family owned cow dairy farm in the highlands of Birchrunville, Chester Springs. The Millers offer handcrafted raw milk cheese. Our staff had the pleasure of tasting all the amazing cheeses at Birchrun Hills some of which include, Birchrun Blue, a raw milk natural rind semi-soft cheese that is rich and creamy with delicate blue flavors; Highland Alpine, a raw milk washed rind traditional mountain-style cheese that features nuttiness combined with a hint of sharpness; and Fat Cat cheese, both earthy and tangy with a grassy finish.  Seasonal and fresh cheese are available all year round. Our staff toured the brand-new facilities, including a behind the scenes look at the robot technology that milks the cows on the farm! Sue Miller, one of the founders of Birchrun Hills Farm, gave us an enlightening look into the dairy crisis, where she shared that if you look at Pennsylvania alone, of the 600 artisan farms, already 100 had to close just this year. The market is so saturated that unfortunately all the farms that were once booming, are now struggling to stay afloat.  She encouraged us all to purchase local and support the farmers!

The last and final stop of the day, to wash down all that decadent and rich cheese, was to Victory Brewing Company. We visited the original brewery in Downingtown, PA that was founded in 1996. Victory now has three brewpubs total, including Kennet Square and Parkesburg.  We received a tour of the full facility, where now the Downingtown location mostly produces all the specialty and seasonal beers. On the tour we were able to see the hops and learn all about the process and history of Victory’s beer making.  As Victory shares on their site, “Victory is one of only a few breweries in the country that uses whole flower hops in its beer. Almost all breweries used pelletized hops instead. Whole flower hops are a purer form, and the brewers at Victory believe they impart better flavor and aroma to beer.”

We always cherish the knowledgeable time spent on the many farms we partner with to create our beautiful and fresh culinary designs. Supporting our local farms is so important, and we utilize them in any way we can. There is no better time to visit the farm than in the fall!

To learn more about our stops, please visit their websites at:

http://www.shellbarkhollow.com/blog/

http://birchrunhillsfarm.com/about/

http://www.victorybeer.com/