Shy Brothers Farm, located at the eastern tip of Massachusetts, is owned by the Santos brothers, two sets of fraternal twins who are third generation dairy farmers. The farm is situated directly between the confluence of two rivers and close to the Atlantic coast. The climate is relatively temperate due to the Gulf Stream and also affected by the salt air – both factors that impact the grass which in turn affects the flavor of the milk and the cheese. Named for the brothers’ shy nature, the farm is also home to 120 milking cows that consist of three different breeds; Holstein, Ayrshire and Jersey. In recent years the brothers have been introducing more Ayrshire genetics into the mix since Ayrshire milk is ideal for cheesemaking. The four brothers all share most of the jobs on the farm with Karl taking responsibility for the cheesemaking. After many years of dairy farming and having produced milk that was sold on the open market, in 2006 the Santos brothers found they we no longer able to make a living due to falling milk prices. Having looked at various ways to add value to the milk, they hit upon the idea of making cheese. Karl attended a weekend cheesemaking class in New Hampshire, a course at the Vermont Institute of Artisanal Cheese and made a two week trip to France to visit various cheesemakers. It was while he was in the Bugundy region that he was introduced to the recipe for making the tiny, thimble-sized cheeses that is now the signature cheese called Hannahbells. In addition, Kevin also produces a fresh artisanal curd cheese called Cloumage. Based on a French recipe, this style of cheese is an everyday staple in France – especially used in cooking. For production, the curd is formed using a long, slow acidfication process and is allowed to drain naturally under its own weight.
The texture of Cloumage is light and fluffy. Flavors are fresh and citrus-like with a mild but definite tang.
Cloumage is extremely versatile to cook with as an ingredient, such as for stuffing a turkey or chicken or with horseradish for salmon or roast beef. Equally, it can simply be eaten with honey or pepper.