Black & Blue
Founded in 2002, FireFly Farms is owned by Mike Koch and Pablo Solanet and produces a range of cheeses made from goat’s milk.
The partners’ original creamery was located in a neighbor’s converted barn, adjacent to the herd of milking does. After a few years, the company soon started to outgrow the premises and Koch and Solanet began searching for a new location in 2008. One year later premises were acquired in Accident, Maryland, in a historic building that was formerly a machine shop. Over the course of three years the building was converted, and is now home to the creamery as well as FireFly Farms’ flagship retail store.
The store allows plenty of interaction between customers and the cheese business as well as being an attraction to visitors in Garrett County.
The original herd of milking does was sold in 2006. FireFly Farms now sources goat milk from six local farms, each located within 20 miles of the creamery.
Cheesemaking operations are managed by Matt Cedro together with Head Cheesemaker Dan Porter.
FireFly makes a variety of both younger and more aged cheeses that have won numerous awards at national competitions. Their cheeses are produced from pasteurized milk since Maryland regulations require this.
FireFly Farms' Black & Blue was developed in early spring 2007. The intent was to develop a longer-aged blue cheese with complex flavors. The outer casing of black wax allows moisture to be retained during aging as well as to provide a contrast to the white and blue interior.
Early versions of the cheese were introduced at farmer’s markets, and after an enthusiastic reception, FireFly went into full production with the Black & Blue.
During their maturation, cheeses are pierced to allow the blue veining to develop. At about five weeks of age, wheels are waxed and matured for a further three months before release. The intent is to be able to mature cheeses for up to nine months of age, when the flavors become even more complex. However, consumer demand together with limited aging space currently dictates the four month release date. Black and Blue is made during eight months of the year.
The interior of Black & Blue is semi-soft with an ivory-colored paste marbled with dark blue-green veins. Flavors are buttery, rich and complex with distinct but balanced notes of blue and salt.
Good beverage pairings include meaty red wines such as Petite Bordeaux, Malbec and port or, at the other end of the scale, riesling.