“We believe cheesemaking is an art as much as a science,” says Mike Koch, co-founder and president of Maryland-based FireFly Farms. “[We] have been committed to support for community arts since our beginning.” For proof, take alook at FireFly’s eye-catching cheeses.
Washed-rind Cabra LaMancha’s label features a goatherd washing his milk vessel in a stream, while one of his goats looks directly at the viewer with a cheeky grin. The artwork has the distinct look of Art Nouveau, which rose to popularity in the mid-19th century and is recognizable by its sense of fluidity and movement, with curves inspired by forms found in nature.
The scene on this label comes from a much larger mural commissioned by Koch and co-founder Pablo Solanet from illustrator Mark Stutzman, in which the milk flowing from the goatherd’s urn transforms into the skirt of a milkmaid’s dress in the adjacent panel. Stutzman’s work seemed perfectly suited to the cheesemakers’ mission of paying tribute to Old World traditions.“Cabra LaMancha is an homage to the washed rind cheeses produced high in the Pyrenees mountains of northern Spain’s Basque region,” says Koch. “The label art was intended to evoke the pastoral nature of that environment as well as communicate the intimate nature of the relationship between the goat herder and his animals.” That sly little goat smile is particularly evocative of the bond humans have with dairy animals—as conscious caretakers of these creatures that sustain us—reminding us of their part in the cheesemaking process.