Cheese Love, Grounded by the Farm, Episode 320 Transcript

August 10, 2022



cheese, charcuterie, eat, absolutely, people, board, dairy, cheese monger, crackers, midwest, places, food safety, little bit, lactose, thought, water, milk, farm, ounce, cheddar


Janice Person, Grounded by the Farm; Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop; Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD,

Grounded by the Farm  00:03

Food is more than just what’s on our plate. It’s the places where it’s grown. It’s the people who grow it and so much more. Join me, Janice person, your host on grounded by the farm every other week as we talk about the foods we love. Hey everybody, this is Janice and today I’m in northwestern Arkansas. I’m at a place called the Eighth Street Market. sitting inside, I can get all kinds of treats it looks like and I can also get some outdoor gear, which sounds lovely. But why I’m here talking cheese today. Oh Have mercy, the cheese talk we’re going to have, we’re going to talk about taste. We’re going to talk about nutrition. We’re going to talk about soft cheeses, hard cheeses, oh cheeses. And that brings me to the first person I’ve ever met who actually has a title of cheese monger. I knew they existed. But Jessica Keahey is a cheese monger. She is behind Sweet Freedom. And just because with us today, thanks for having me down here. This is pretty awesome.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  01:10

Thanks for being here. This is about is Gouda, is it good?


Grounded by the Farm  01:15

And the cheese fans will be coming people. Okay, so I have to know, like, at what point did you have this calling to be a cheese monger? Because I kind of think about it. You know, I have a family member who’s an ordained minister. And I think like working with cheese is an equally blessed career path.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  01:35

It’s true, bless it or the cheese makers and the cheese mongers. Yeah, it is it is a calling and I think anyone who’s in dairy and or cheese in the periphery of dairy will tell you that, that it’s perhaps an obsession almost. But I feel like a lot of us fall into it in cheese. Not everyone is necessarily born into the dairy world. You didn’t just fall into the VAT. Maybe metaphorically. I did emotionally, mentally.


Grounded by the Farm  02:06

So what did you study? What did you do to get you on this path?


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  02:10

So I actually studied engineering. And I was a civil engineer, of course, an engineer for a long time. And it was not my calling, that is not a dotted line. Right? It’s I know, it’s very like, oh, well, where’s the story going? But I knew I wanted to do something else. And I was I was at home cook. And I really liked making things and fermenting things and eating things and feeding people. And that was that was kind of what brought me joy. So I thought, you know, what, how can I harness this into something that I could maybe actually make a career out of, and lo and behold, we’d go home and think about how that could happen. And really, there wasn’t a lot of cheese making action or just cheese action in Arkansas at the time. This is like 2012. And so I realized that this could be a path I was going to have to carve it out and kind of create it myself if I was going to do it. And So lo and behold, years later, I wasn’t 18 and i i opened here at the Eighth Street Market for the brick and mortar but it was a long and winding path kind of in those years. tween I was I started out actually making cheese which is definitely a labor of love. And I traveled all over the United States and a little out to learn how to make cheese. Yeah, there weren’t a lot of educational opportunities here to like dive in.


Grounded by the Farm  03:28

I’m gonna guess the Pacific coast the Northeast Wisconsin.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  03:32

Yeah. Especially Vermont. Yeah. Tons of artisan cheese up in Vermont. I mean, you can’t like throw a piece of have already without like hitting a cheese maker up there.


Grounded by the Farm  03:41

But it’s but it’s amazing how many more people in the Midwest have found a love of cheese. And it’s not just the big chatters anymore. Absolutely.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  03:50

Yes. And so I kind of took a little like cheese quest trip around the United States. And we did kind of focus on actually the South and the Midwest. Yeah, and just met a lot of folks. Cheese people are the best people’s what we like to see in the industry. They’re so kind and they just, you know, they opened their barn doors to me. And they’re, you know, their cheese Creamery doors, and I got to go in and really learn a lot. And when I came back, I realized I, I probably wasn’t going to financially be able to make cheese without going immediately bankrupt. The business plan was always kind of part two, you know, part one, make cheese Part Two, to actually sell the cheese to the humans here in Northwest Arkansas. And I thought, well, I don’t have to make the cheese to sell cheese. So let’s just do that. And here. Here we are a couple of years later, but I actually in between two, you know, there’s a big difference between cheese making and cheese mongering. And so I went into quite a few, quite a few educational things to feel good


Grounded by the Farm  04:50

about. And I guess it’s ongoing, right? Always. Yeah, we actually have met a couple of times once was online. Both were events hosted by Midwest Dairy and they’re sponsoring this episode, which is like crazy, awesome. Midwest Dairy works with farmers around the Midwest. And they’ve had you out with farms and they introduced me to your tea shop, which thereby introduced me to cheeses made in my home state. So, tell me, how do you find new cool cheeses, right? Because anybody can go to a grocery store any day, and we can get the same yellow chatters and things right. But sometimes it’s fun to play with something different on a charcuterie board or a grilled cheese sandwich or whatever it is.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  05:40

Yeah, it’s, it’s a great question. Because cheese is a staple food. And I mean, there’s staple food, but cheese’s staple food and making it for a long time as humans and enjoying it for a long time. And I think that all cheeses have a great application, you know, whether if it is kind of your block of chatter that’s going in your, you know, tater tot casserole for, you know, 15,000 people, or if it’s going to be, you know, fine cheese on yeah, as you said it charcuterie board you’re going to enjoy actually enjoying on her fancy Lake, you’re gonna have to get this. You’ll have to Yeah, you’ll have to talk about this in the enjoyment section, you’re flooding charcuterie board.


Grounded by the Farm  06:21

She’s actually sitting here with us. And you’ll hear more from Ashley in a bit.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  06:27

So good. But yes, she uses a staple food. And it really I like to say that there’s cheese for everyone. So there’s strong cheese and mild cheese and cheese. That’s, you know, extremely affordable. And she’s extremely expensive, right. But there’s really something for everyone. I think even even the lactose intolerant. And it’s it Yeah, it’s, it’s sometimes I think overwhelming when people step up, and they see all these cheeses. And, and they do ask us those questions of like, where on earth do you find all these. And we do work very hard to, I think have a really good mix of cheeses that are available for everyone. And also different kinds of cheese varieties and types that fit different categories. And some of that is going out and meeting the cheese makers and you know, seeing seeing what they have. And we did a lot of that, especially if we work direct with cheese makers, we want to you know, put eyes on their farm and you know, their food safety protocols and, you know, taste their cheeses, and that’s so much fun. And then and then also going to like trade shows and such where we get to roll around and tons of cheese, like at the American Cheese Society awards and get me on that list. Right? Yeah, like so get me on that list slowly. So we do sample a lot of cheese. And sometimes we just, you know, take a shot where we bring in cheese and see like, what is this but let’s get a wheel and then eat it.


Grounded by the Farm  07:48

Okay, so when I met you, it was during the the dark days of COVID where everybody was in stay at home mode. And it was and magically a box of cheese arrived to my home. This is if God said today is a good day, right? And and we had this mixture of cheeses that I get again, it was with Midwest Dairy. And I still like two and a half, three years. I don’t even know how many years later, I still have the top to one of those cheeses on my counter because every time I go near a shop that’s going to have cheese’s I want to look and see if they have that one. Oh, that’s so exciting. And milk and honey, from Edgewood,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  08:30

we have it. We have it here today.


Grounded by the Farm  08:32

It’s a good thing because I brought everything in my being with the car with ice and all things so I can take some home because I’ve craved that cheese. But really, to me, it’s amazing to think that there are small cheese making places in Missouri and Kansas and Nebraska and Iowa. And I remember there were cheeses from most of the Midwestern states and a wide range of flavor profiles. So when you start thinking about a charcuterie board, how do you start thinking about what to put on that and sort of what flavors you want to combine and what textures you’re looking for? I’m sure you’re better at it than me and I just want you to tell me how you do those beautiful things on your website, which people should look at your Instagram. Sweet. Freedom cheese I think is what it is that’s it and they should look at it and they’ll go whoa and then they’re going to want to come through here when they go to Crystal Bridges are somewhere there just don’t want to stop by you can get one to go call in early. But tell me how you do this trick coterie boards. Yeah,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  09:39

so So the first thing is how much cheese do you need? And that’s usually the first question we ask cheese to other thing how many people are you feeding? Okay, that’s just you. Or if it’s you want to eat cheese once or twice or you really like cheese or you know it’s for after dinner perhaps we can help kind of guide you on that but typically we say an ounce have cheese per cheese per person. And then we kind of start, you know, which cheeses are we going going from there, if you are consuming lots of other food and the cheese is just a small portion, or maybe you’re having an after dinner, it was a light snack. Maybe there’s not a lot of big cheese eaters. But if you’re if you’re listening this podcast, I have a feeling you’re gonna, you’re gonna want to lean on the higher end of that, you could maybe cut that down just a little bit to maybe three quarters of an ounce or even half an ounce, but we usually say one ounce per cheese per person. And then we say anywhere from three to five cheeses, if you get kind of beyond five on your cheese and charcuterie board, it’s kind of easy. It’s confusing to figure out what it is. Yeah. And I think also, if you’re eating one ounce per cheese, that’s five ounces of cheese, which is plenty. By the way. If you think about, you know, the blocks in the store we were talking about earlier, those are typically eight ounces. So this is like a little more than half a block of cheese. Yeah. When I kind of visualize how much juice that is,


Grounded by the Farm  10:58

I didn’t need to visualize, because I like to just be able to eat it without thinking about how much.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  11:03

Yeah, and so I think that’s plenty. And so definitely no more than five. I know people are enthusiastic sometimes.


Grounded by the Farm  11:09

So how do you pick the mixture of cheeses then and then we usually asked what people


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  11:13

kind of tend to like in the first place. So we’re set up as a cut to order shop, which means people come in, they can try things before they buy. So it’s an interesting model, I’m staying for a while, where you can, you know, say I don’t know. And then we can start to kind of work with you about what what you do like and then you will find out because, you know, we’re we’re big on everyone going home with something that they love. We don’t want to send you home with something and you open it and think oh, I don’t really like this cheese and I spent this money this hard earned money on it. We want you to take it home and know that you’re gonna love it and then come back and say, Boy, I love that prairies chatter, you know, give me something different this time that’s maybe around that. Yeah. And it’s it’s like, you know, a relationship with a hairstylist, where they you get to know your customers and what they like and what they don’t like and kind of let them explore a little bit, which is really fun. So where are


Grounded by the Farm  12:03

we on aged cheese’s? Versus fresher cheeses? Yeah.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  12:06

So if if I were putting together a board and someone said, you know, I don’t really have any preferences. i What we typically do is a variety like like you said we would do maybe a soft cheese, a hard cheese or something in between, we might do you know, a planer style cheese, some flavored cheeses, and then just kind of work from there. But But typically, it’s nice to have a variety of textures. Yeah, also a variety. I mean, we eat with our eyes, too. And so a variety of colors. And, you know, some some cheeses have external mold and internal mold, and that’s normal. It’s delicious. And we encourage people to eat them. But, you know, again, we kind of just find out what our customers really enjoy, and then work out from there. I mean, sometimes people come in and they say, Boy, you know, I just want four chapters. And that’s, that’s what I’m here for. And that’s great. No judgment. We got some great chatter. That’s great.


Grounded by the Farm  12:58

Absolutely happy with it. So how do you pick all the other stuff to go on that trip every board so it’s important? Yeah,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  13:05

we definitely have what I call like our magic formula. So again, three to five cheeses and then charcuterie is is meat. So charcuterie has been used in a lot of different terminologies now very


Grounded by the Farm  13:18

French fry board. Yeah. eatery and it’s a French fried board or hot cocoa


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  13:23

board and it’s a charcuterie board. So charcuterie is a French word that actually does mean kind of charred or cooked meat. And so So technically, if you have a charcuterie board, it’s a meat board. And we do also have cured meat section. You know, salami, yeah. You know, hormones. Yes, etc. So,


Grounded by the Farm  13:41

so they can jelly Broadbent country ham. Oh, yeah. Okay.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  13:44

Oh, yeah. country ham really great. We actually have a local producer too, that we use on our grilled cheese. You’ll have to try one. Okay. Really. Um, so when people walk in, and then they say, Oh, I smell so good. As soon as we put a yes customer we put a grilled cheese on the grill. You’re, it’s gonna make this interview a lot harder. It’s gonna be really hungry. I love it. Yes. But I always say it’s the ham and the real butter that you’re smelling. But anyways, I’m off track. Sorry. So besides meats and cheese, meats and cheeses, so we say You know, one or two meats, you know, it’s a again, they’re, they’re more concentrated and so they’re a little saltier. Whenever you’re having your cured meats. It’s a little dabble Diem. And other than that we say, you know, fresh fruit and vegetables have plenty, you know, as much as you want whatever color it does, absolutely. And kind of rounds it out. We also do pickled items and so it doesn’t have to be pickles per se. We have pickled brussel sprouts and olives and pickled okra and just whatever but the acid tends to cut through the fattiness of the cheese and the


Grounded by the Farm  14:46

getting right to that what works and why absolutely a why was in my notes. So but that acid is a key component.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  14:56

Yes, it helps. It helps kind of clear your palate so that you Want to go in for another bite? Like you’re refreshed? Yeah, palate fatigue of eating too much cheese or anything that’s really heavy, right like heavy foods.


Grounded by the Farm  15:09

But grapes on the board? Yeah, absolutely. It is fresh and cleanse your palate.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  15:14

Refreshing. Absolutely. And then we also do aside from kind of pickled items, crunchy things for texture, because most cheeses tend to be even hard cheeses will have a nice kind of creamy mouthfeel to them. And, and sometimes those crunchy crystals, the little tyrosine crystals, so yeah, but we do like to have a little bit of saltiness and texture. That could be anything from nuts to I mean, I’ve seen people do even potato chips, which I think it was really fun. So it doesn’t have to be highbrow it can be wherever you want it to be whatever is


Grounded by the Farm  15:44

I do like not like almonds, pecans, things like that. Yeah,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  15:48

a lot of cheeses, especially aged cheese’s have that nuttiness to them in the flavor profile. And so there’s different ways that you can pick things. And this goes with beverage pairing too, as you can either have a complimentary pairing, where it’s really on the nose, yes, cheese tastes naughty, great, we’re gonna put nuts with it. Or you can have a contrasting pairing like this cheese is very, you know, heavy and perhaps fatty, I’m going to put some pickles with it to that fat. So that’s kind of contrasting. And, and you can kind of take that forward, some people tend to be in Group A, and some people tend to be in Group B. And so kind of once you find out which of those you are, then you can start kind of picking pairings with that. And there’s a really easy thought experiment to do with this. So Group A likes contrasting pairings. And so you can think about this. If you are presented, don’t think about the season or how hot or how cold you are right now. But just you’re presented with two glasses right in front of you. One is lemonade, and one is chocolate milk, which would you pick? A lot of instinct.


Grounded by the Farm  16:52

Alright, I go with eliminate, Oh, what about that naturally is gonna go with something else.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  16:57

Or it could be regular milk. I’m gonna go with chocolate milk or milk. I know me too. So we’re in Group B, which is the complementary pairings. So you will tend to and it’s not always 100%


Grounded by the Farm  17:07

I’m a conflict girl


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  17:08

show. It’s always like 5050 So no surprise here. But you and Group A liking the contrasting pairings probably tend to like fresher, crunchy or more like Zippy things. So like, I do, like zipping up things. Yeah. I’m gonna say like mustards and vinegar rats over like mayonnaise. And yeah,


Grounded by the Farm  17:27

keep the managers far from me. Man, so


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  17:30

yes, so we like I bet you would tend to like yeah, again, like lighter beverage.


Grounded by the Farm  17:40

We are in the Eighth Street Market. So if you hear weird things in the background, everyone because the shops are opening?


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  17:45

Yeah, the all the delicious smells will start to BS. Yeah. Soon. We will like things that are heavier like sauces and red wines. Right? Maybe like why would why? Okay. All right. Well, you can begin our camp as well. So hot coffee. Those sorts of beverages? Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. And so that means we tend to like those complimentary pairings together, you know, on the nose and you you like a little conflict


Grounded by the Farm  18:07

if I’m making a charcuterie board for all of us. I’d like a little bit of both. Absolutely.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  18:11

Yes. And then people can kind of experiment around. So in addition to the pickled and the crunchy and the vegetables, we also like to have condiments. I love to put mustards or jams or you can get weird. Tell people


Grounded by the Farm  18:22

but once again, you gave like a pineapple how? Yes, jam. Yeah,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  18:29

yep. Debs. Pineapple jalapeno jam.


Grounded by the Farm  18:32

Yes. Oh, have mercy. I’ll be buying some of that today. Do a local producer here. And


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  18:38

it’s really good. Yeah, we have it also on some of our sandwiches, too. We love to play around with that.


Grounded by the Farm  18:42

Bacon jam. I love bacon jams. Lily. I love all the jams preserves, whatever you want to on their way with me. Yeah. But I like it in small amounts with cheese with something crunchy or something.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  18:56

Yeah, I really find with your pairings is kind of a trifecta a little bring it together. If you have a say a great beverage, right? We’re in the Red Wine camp. So you know great red wine. We have this great cheese. And then if you have maybe a little jam on top, it’ll just bring it all together. It’s amazing. And then kind of all those things together. Last but not least, we like to have a vehicle. I mean, you don’t have to have a vehicle to put cheese in your mouth. But sometimes you might need a cracker or a piece of bread. And usually we say if you are maybe trying to choose for the first time go with something that’s a little plainer. Don’t go with, you know, the strongest like, Right, exactly, yeah, covered and truffle oil and sesame’s. Because then that’s what you’re gonna taste right you’re not going to taste the cheese itself. So try the cheeseburgers maybe by itself and then try it with some plain something a little plainer crackers, but we we give suggestions all the time because people get really hung up on you know what kind of crackers the best cracker but that I think just harkens back to the oyster crackers. The whole, the whole I think mantra that I have about this is eat what you enjoy, you know, don’t if you don’t like pickled items or you don’t like soft cheeses It’s totally fine. You know, this is this is your palate.


Grounded by the Farm  20:03

I don’t talk about cheese. Enough to get it out of our systems. Absolutely. But I do want to talk about, you said you mentioned lactose. Yeah, free cheese’s or low lactose cheeses. And this is a perfect place for Ashley to jump in. Ashley is a registered dietitian. And she works with Midwest area. Am I right? Ashley Anderson?


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  20:25

Yes, I do. I’ve been working for Midwest Dairy for over 10 years now.


Grounded by the Farm  20:29

I love talking to registered dieticians. I think a lot of people don’t understand how registered dietitians can help you. I think they think people are going to be really focused down on exactly trying to make you eat only the healthiest thing if they’re a registered dietician. I happen to know you really liked cheese I love to. And you also like red wine we’ve we’ve now understood. So So you’re an enjoyment person to as well as a nutrition person. And that’s the way most of my rd friends are?


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  21:00

Absolutely. Food can’t be good nutrition if you don’t consume it, right? Like if it’s going into the trash can. It’s not doing my body a better good. So I believe you, you have to enjoy food. And that’s why I’m a dietitian. It’s not just because I’m passionate about health and wellness. But I’m passionate about good foods.


Grounded by the Farm  21:18

Lactose is one of those things that occasionally makes people a little bit wary of cheeses and all dairy products. Right.


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  21:25

Absolutely. Working with dairy. I get that question a lot from people who are lactose intolerant. And and they feel that they don’t that just because you’re lactose intolerant. You don’t get to enjoy dairy. And it’s quite the opposite. I have I have


Grounded by the Farm  21:39

some problems when lactose gets too far along. I eat all the cheeses burrata, I have to take a small amount of because it’s got that creamy center, right. So the taste of it is amazing. But I have to like small amounts because it has more lactose in it.


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  21:57

Yes. So so some of your harder cheeses are going to be actually naturally low in lactose. So if you think about your cheddar, Colby, even mozzarella, Swiss, yeah, those cheeses are all really good choices if you’re lactose intolerant, because because they are so naturally low in lactose, okay.


Grounded by the Farm  22:17

And then, on the other end are some that maybe smaller amounts are better for people that have problems with lactose. And those would normally be a fresher, creamier cheese. Is that right?


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  22:30

Yes, absolutely. You’re spot on, Janice. Well,


Grounded by the Farm  22:33

because I have the problem, right? Like, I want to eat all the cheeses. And I do. But I only eat so much of some of the cheeses.


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  22:42

And even exactly that is that’s a perfect point that even if you have a cheese that has a little higher lactose in it, if you’re eating that alongside with other food items, so that it helps kind of delay the absorption gives your gut enough time to kind of process that that too will help. Or, as opposed to sitting down and turn on that cheese by itself. You’re eating it with other food items. It’s gonna give your body a little bit more time.


Grounded by the Farm  23:07

You know, I think our bodies actually have this with a lot of different foods, especially foods that we don’t eat a lot of routinely. When I go home to Memphis, I eat way too much pork because there’s so much pork everywhere you go. And my body goes whoa, wait a minute, baby. Stop it on the pork for a bit. And it’s the same thing with lactose. But it’s it’s like something that’s in dairy automatically. It’s not like anybody’s adding lactose to dairy products.


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  23:33

No. Lactose is naturally occurring in in all milks. And so cow’s milk is not any different. And what happens sometimes, if you’ve not been in checking out the dairy case, if you’re lactose intolerant. If you haven’t been to the dairy case in a while because you’re afraid like I can’t really tolerate that. Well. Check it out. Because there’s a lot of products on the market right now. That are


Grounded by the Farm  23:57

out tell you, I love the ultrafiltered milk because I can drink milk again. So I do like chocolate milk. But if I’m if I’m choosing on a regular basis, I will make way more often go with the lemonade, because


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  24:10

yeah, so there’s there’s there’s a lot of milk on the market now that because of the filtration process, it’s it’s it has the lactose removed and it’s high protein, and it’s high protein and protein. It’s Yes. So the other option is you can have milk that actually has lactase added to it, which is the enzyme that helps digest lactose. Oh, so you have other metrically Yes, so there’s so you can go either way.


Grounded by the Farm  24:36

I love it. I love it. I seriously could eat it all day. So do you think about cheeses is like high protein cheeses? Jessica?


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  24:45

Absolutely. Yeah, cheese is an excellent protein source. Do they vary? They do a little bit and it’s more about the moisture content. So let’s do a little mathy thought experiments. Oh god so if you have a really moist, wet, goopy, triple cream brie, you think, Boy, that that’s a really fatty cheese, right? Maybe sort of but, but if you’re thinking about in terms of concentration like ounce per ounce, because again, we’re thinking one ounce produced per person, that’s really a lot of water in that, that soy milk is 87 and a half ish, give or take a little bit percent water. And then the rest of that is milk solids. And so we’re retaining some of that moisture in the cheese making process to make that style of cheese. So you know, water has zero calories to it, but also, you know, zero fat zero protein in that water component. So if you take, you know, over here, some Parmesan, let’s say, or a harder cheddar, firm, a lot less moisture content in that. And so kind of ounce per ounce, you’re actually gonna have more concentration of those proteins. Okay, so proteins and fats, the percent, you know, for each individual cow is going to be different what they’re eating, it’s going to be different time of year breeds, et cetera. But within a kind of narrow window, it’s not going to be 1% to 95%. It’s in a very narrow window there. It’s more about the cheese making process and how they concentrate that down. So again, if you take that ounce of of that really gooey, mozzarella, or brie, and that ounce of that very hard parmesan or cheddar, yeah, you’re actually going to have more protein in that that cheddar because it’s more concentrated down. There’s less moisture there. Also more calories, too. Yeah. Because it’s a concentrated food. And you can think about it in terms of that. So almost like density.


Grounded by the Farm  26:39

I like that. Yeah, it’s a dense, yes. That’s nutritious. So what else am I getting in my cheeses, actually. So cheese


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  26:47

is an excellent source of protein is just a convention, but it’s also a good source of calcium and phosphorus really important for healthy bones. The protein really good for strong muscles. So, so cheese really is a great way. Not only is it delicious, but it’s very nutritious for you as well. Yeah. And it pairs so nicely. You know, when you’re talking about the charcuterie board, it parison nicely with fruits with vegetables with whole grain. Tell


Grounded by the Farm  27:12

me about the floating charcuterie boards that you make. Because my guess is is that it’s more like, so not everybody makes a board that’s on the level that Jessica makes, right? So we


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  27:25

know I’m always intimidated. When I look at Jessica’s boards


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  27:28

Don’t be intimidated. No.


Grounded by the Farm  27:30

Good. You told me you told me because you also have kids. Yes, I do. So how do you how do you sort of put those things together?


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  27:37

Well, I take whatever I happen to have in my refrigerator. I put it on a board and college struck. Yes. Very good.


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  27:43



Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  27:44

I love it. So I grab whatever crackers are in my cabinet. I always have an assortment of cheeses. Cheese is my favorite dairy product. And then whatever fruits, vegetables and meats that I have available, only


Grounded by the Farm  27:58

recently did I learn that if you really thinly sliced country ham, it’s like prosciutto. I’m like, that’s why I’ve always loved country ham. I just didn’t know it.


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  28:08

So the floating charcuterie board my daughter in law actually, we were what I call lolling in the lake. We were floating in the lake with an adult beverage in our hand really enjoy soaking up sunshine, having a good time could be in the pool for others. Yes. And so she she goes, she looks at this raft that was sitting beside me. And she goes, I think we could put a charcuterie board on that. So we get out of the water. We run inside and we throw everything on a board and we come back out. We loll in the lake with our wine and our charcuterie board and it was amazing. I’m


Grounded by the Farm  28:42

sure you stayed hydrated, too. You had water?


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  28:44

We did. Yeah, we didn’t drink the lake water.



Responsible charcuetering. Is that kind of make that a verb?


Grounded by the Farm  28:52

Yes, exactly. Exactly. So can you tell me in the in the world of food safety and cheeses, so we know there’s some things when you’re making cheeses that could impact food safety, but like leaving it out on the lake for how long you ever put it back in the refrigerator?


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  29:10

Well, we ate it all very quickly.


Grounded by the Farm  29:13

Okay, good.


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  29:15

Um, Jessica actually probably knows.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  29:18

Yeah, I do. So, so But yes, we we recommend also, just from a quality standpoint, take out only as much cheese from your fridge that you’re going to possibly eat. Yeah, because if you take the cheese in and out and in and out, then there’s a little bit of temperature fluctuation that happens there. Yes, a little bit of butter fat and then just in terms of quality, it’s not as great it can dry out it can crumble. So just slice what you need. Again, that you know, ounce producer person put it on you’re floating on or not boiling it charcuterie board. And and that’s great. But I would say from from a federal standpoint, from you know what the Arkansas Department of Health here would say and what we tell our customers is four hours outside of refrigeration. So that’s what we abide by. But again, I would say, you know, minimize that as much as as possible if you’re out on a lake, perhaps. However, the we do also tell people, you know, people worry a lot like, oh, you know, is it okay if I walk around with this for 30 minutes? Yes, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. You can you can fly with, it’s not


Grounded by the Farm  30:17

like some of the other things you have to worry about, right? Derya fat? Yes.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  30:20

And it’s actually it’s better if you leave your cheeses out, let your minutes Yes, before you consume them. Because just like anything with, you know, actually like your finest box wine, right? If you if you want to, maybe not, not be able to smell or taste some of the things that are not desirable in a food or beverage, make it really cold, because we can’t smell or taste things as well. It’s about the molecules moving around. So those volatile organic compounds, you know, won’t come up to your nose as easy. And so


Grounded by the Farm  30:52

you want to use it fermented right, so absolutely doesn’t continue to ferment so much when it’s in your refrigerator.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  30:58

That’s true. Yes, it’s just a little too gold. Yes. But if you take it out, and it warms up, those molecules start to get excited, move around, you can smell things better tastings better. Okay. And that goes for absolutely everything. So this kind of appropriate temperatures, but yeah, room temperature, if you can bear it, if you can bear it.


Ashley Anderson, Midwest Dairy RD  31:15

And I know I have a tendency to let Carter cheese’s and I know from my experience coming up many times does the you desiccant invited cheeses and transporting back to Central Arkansas, that you assure me the harder cheeses are okay being left. Not on us for a short period of time. Yeah,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  31:35

absolutely. So yeah. FDA Federal Food Code, talks about water activity. And and that’s a little bit different concept from moisture content. But yeah, basically, if a cheese or a food product, whatever it is, is very, very, very dry, or has a certain combination of that dryness and water activity and an acidity level, then pathogens, bacteria, they’re not going to want to live in this.


Grounded by the Farm  32:00

This is what gets me back like a thing of burrata. It’s sold in water or sometimes mozzarella sold and water. Yep. And if you open the sealed container, you need to eat it. Yes. Absolutely. Like 24 hours or something I think is Yeah, and some of that’s a guideline quality. Yeah, then food safety. But


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  32:20

yes, absolutely.


Grounded by the Farm  32:21

But tell me how to store cheeses other than the fact that now my refrigerator hasn’t been a big drawer, right? Like the massive drawer used to be a smaller, I couldn’t see what all is down in there. Now, big huge cheese drawer love it. I assume that just does it well, but sometimes you wrapped cheeses in paper. Yeah, so what sometimes plastic


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  32:43

what we do here. So if you come to our counter, and we cut to order a piece of cheese for you, then we wrap it in a specially designed cheese paper that is permeable, it doesn’t seem like it. But there’s some micro holes in it that allow that cheese to breathe, because cheese is as you know, active. Yeah, it’s active. It’s a fermentation product. And we need to let some of that off gas while also not retaining moisture up against the cheese. And the worst thing that you can do is wrap it in plastic wrap. And that will essentially kind of suffocate the cheese and it’ll make moisture sit in between the cheese and that plastic wrap, which will cause spoilage faster. So we say You know, if you don’t have fancy cheese paper, that’s, that’s totally fine. No big deal. You can wrap it up in wax paper or parchment paper and then put it in maybe a Tupperware or then you can put it in a Ziploc Okay, or then you can put plastic wrap over it but just something kind of in between that and the cheese. I tend to


Grounded by the Farm  33:41

that’s weird because like cheese at the grocery store is so frequently


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  33:45

Yes. So it’s vacuum sealed. It’s it’s a little bit different process. So they usually either modified air potential or the vacuum process. He knows so much about cheese on in a cheese manufacturing facility. Yes, so that there’s no mold potential writing, but there’s maybe some old potential in the back here fridge. So occasionally, you might see a little bit of mold on your cheese and that typically, I mean, use your judgment, you know, when it’s out, throw it out. But if it’s a hard cheese, and maybe you forgot that piece of cheddar in your fridge for the last three months, and there’s a little bit of all because


Grounded by the Farm  34:16

maybe my mom always told me cut it off. Put it off. Yeah,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  34:19

absolutely. Yes. Food safety. Queen over here telling you Yeah, the rule of thumb is just a maybe a quarter of an inch.


Grounded by the Farm  34:28

If that was from the mold. Yeah,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  34:31

absolutely. And that’s it. I know a lot of people get real upset by this concept. You know, there’s mold on it, toss it away. But But cheese is a it’s designed to be a moldy food. It’s


Grounded by the Farm  34:41

affirmance. Fair, like, like some molds are good molds and other molds are bad molds. And yes, it’s important to kind of


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  34:52

is very important to differentiate between that as well.


Grounded by the Farm  34:55

I mean, I wouldn’t eat something that’s been in a refrigerator for five years. Yeah, creating all trying to mold but generally clean refrigerator. Some cheese you bought two months ago? You forgot about it after you open it. Yep.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  35:08

Yep, cheese wants to propagate mold. It just does. Mold wants to live on cheese because it’s yummy. So so typically it’s no problem in terms of food safety for hard cheeses. Now, if you have your burrata, and you maybe forgot it, definitely toss that. Yeah, if you see anything on squishy, moist cheese’s, it doesn’t have that same water activity level, that is acceptable.


Grounded by the Farm  35:28

That’s why some of them have the rinds that like a Brie is like,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  35:32

yeah, so Ryan’s actually serve a lot of purposes of a create a setting cheese variety type. So you can have, you know, external or internal molding, and a lot of that has to do with the place that where that cheese was developed. So maybe, you know, the cave in France, there was a certain kind of bolt, and now we propagate it deliberately. And, you know, very clean cheese manufacturing facilities, where we have purchased that, you know, mold from a culture house that comes in sealed, you know, very sanitary packets. But once upon a time, it was out in the wild, you know, the terroir of France. And that’s where those cheese developed. And so we have, you know, 1000s of cheeses today available to us, that we, that we differentiate in different types. So fresh cheeses, we call them blooming rinds, which have those little white velvety coats on them kind of soft, ripened cheeses fall in that category. And then as we work our way, to the harder cheeses, we go from kind of semi firm to firm to extra firm. And then we have some kind of weirdos in there to wash dry and cheeses developed by, you know, monks and monasteries in Europe, and where they took maybe some leftover beer and wash the cheeses with it, just because, you know, why not? Why not? What the heck. And those are the ones that kind of smell like your socks. And then you know, blue cheeses too, which I realize are not for everybody, but are really


Grounded by the Farm  36:54

into some Creamery cheese. And I think I think blue cheese is like some other products where it gets a bad rep because you’ve had bad blue cheese products,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  37:06

or strong blue cheeses. Sometimes you need like, I didn’t get the right. Gateway blue. Yeah, something that’s a little milder. Maybe


Grounded by the Farm  37:12

some of those dressings aren’t necessarily actually


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  37:15

some can be some blues can be very astringent. And it’s hard to start, I think, as a cheese lover at that. So is it you know, as a child and not for young children? Yes, I did not like blue cheese, but then I studied cheese making and I ate a lot of blue cheese. And then it really grew on me. And so blues a lot of times where you can really just enjoy that cheddar by itself. Maybe maybe some goals and some mustard make it really amazing. Yeah, blues a lot of times are difficult, I think for people to just eat hunks off, although there’s certainly some that I do just by themselves with a cracker. But you can partner with certain things that make them really very palatable. So I like to, even though I’m firmly over here in the in the complimentary camp, I will say for blues, we really especially in here in America, we’d like salty and sweet together. So you can think about, you know, like chocolate covered bacon and caramel and corn. Yeah, right. Exactly. Yeah, same. So if you take a blue cheese, it’s a little salty, a little strong, and then Pair it with maybe chocolate or honey or some of those fresh figs and jams. It really really brings that astringency down and makes just a lovely pairing. Yep. So try it out.


Grounded by the Farm  38:25

Okay, little drizzle. Not everybody is going to be in northwestern Arkansas this month or this year, maybe. So how would people find small cheese shops like yours in their area to be able to like get on this adventure? Yeah, absolutely.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  38:40

There. Yeah, there are a number of independent and not just independent shoe shops, but a lot of places now that are are bringing cheese and charcuterie. It’s all parts of the United States, which is really wonderful grocery stores in my neighborhood restaurants. Yeah, absolutely. So if you don’t have an independent cheese shop, don’t don’t think there’s not great cheese, maybe in your neighborhood. But the American Cheese Society, their website, they have a great listing of both cheese shops and then cheese producers because a lot of cheese producers, you can not all of them obviously don’t show up at a farm and asking for cheese. But some of them do have Farm Stores. Yeah, where you can go and get the cheese Direct, which is always best and help support, you know, the farmers and the cheese makers. Now


Grounded by the Farm  39:26

last week, when we were with Logan and he was one that had jerseys. And he has a really small farm. I think it’s like 40 head is he’s milking a small number of cows. I thought man he could be making cheese here and people like me would come and pay him so much money to wine and cheese at his farm. Are there some of those kinds of places you’ve been to that it’s like a in the Midwest?


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  39:48

Absolutely. There’s places around and there’s kind of two modes of thought to because most I would say most farms are not. Most primaries are not within say City Limits and so you’re driving to the country. That’s uh, yeah to go to the farm and nonyl Farms, you know, have visitors because they’re working farms and but there are just kind of like wineries you can go out and enjoy a glass of wine and you know, sit there and see the vineyards. There are certainly some places where you can go and see the cheese making process or just maybe buy a sandwich or some Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yes. But but a lot of a lot of cheese makers. You know, they’re there typically seven days a week as the cows are being milked to making cheese


Grounded by the Farm  40:33

and make a difference to cows usually.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  40:35

So absolutely. And that gets into kind of, you know, deep dive of cheese making 401 But there again, as we talked about earlier, there are some composition differences in the fat and the protein of certain cows. And so depending on what kind of cheese you want to make a lot of cheesemakers will


Grounded by the Farm  40:57

be better for some things. Yes, guarantees may be better for securities and


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  41:01

currencies, higher butterfat content, and that’s suitable for you know, specific types of cheeses. No Holsteins are better fishers. Yeah, that or maybe for another type of cheese, or, or hybrid crosses. Yeah, so very cool. And temperament and size sometimes come into play with that, depending on, you know, what the farmer’s preferences are. And, and there can be things also done to the milk in terms of skimming or adding an additional cream to kind of get to that target that you’re looking for


Grounded by the Farm  41:29

that in a really big scale, kind of there are


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  41:32

certain cheeses and cheese styles that are actually required by law to be skinned in terms of butterfat. So some gudas like Swiss M and talls. Those styles, some harder cheeses, like Parmesan cheese have to be skimmed as well, because it interferes with the drainage process if you’re making a really hard cheese. So my


Grounded by the Farm  41:52

final question, I think, will probably not be but my one of my niece’s said, have her helped me understand how to make a more economical charcuterie board. I mean, not I love all the cheeses, right? And it can get pricey. And sometimes pricey is good. And sometimes pricey is like not today, folks. So if you were making one that’s a little more on the economical side, like you had teenagers eating that amount of cheese.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  42:23

So large quantities.


Grounded by the Farm  42:25

Would you do? And I’m not talking about I’m not talking about Brandon, I’m talking about Jake. I’m kidding. But her husband has actually been making boards Yeah, recently out of wood, and has been really into this. And you know, you get really into it again,


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  42:42

get really? Yeah, it certainly can. And but again, you know, there’s affordable cheeses for everybody. So I would say by how much she is unique. And that’s again, the advantage of a cut to order cheese shop if you have if you’re so lucky to have one in your vicinity because then you can come and get exactly how much you need versus having to buy a whole block that you may or may not love. And that you I think 73


Grounded by the Farm  43:05

stores will do that. Sometimes they have a larger cheese counter. Absolutely


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  43:11

it always it always, you know, never hurts to ask. So don’t be intimidated if somebody is there and you know, even if it’s just a grab and go type situation, feel free to ask hey, can you cut this piece of cheese down because a lot of times i i Over anticipate how much she’s even I can eat but really, really an ounce per cheese per person. I’m telling ya,


Grounded by the Farm  43:34

that’s a really good tip. And I think for me, I don’t go to the same grocery store I normally go to for my big groceries. Yes, but there is one that’s really good cheeses and think about it as an ounce per cheese person


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  43:51

and some of the stronger styles of cheese like blue we people just tend to eat less blue cheese. Yeah, so we we do again kind of tell people to back off some of those so unless you really know maybe you’re the only person who’s going to eat blue we would say you know knock that down. Half an ounce perhaps. And so again stick to three to five cheeses don’t go overboard. And also I really love there’s different modes of thought you know, go go to a place and buy all these new things and then make a big board or you can have you know someone make a board for you. So we do that as well. If you were to buy all the things that go on our cheese and charcuterie platters, you’d be spending a lot more money and then you’d have all these kind of leftover things to you know the entire box of crackers the whole thing of jam and maybe that’s great and that’s what you want but we can also kind of construct them for a lot less and give you the equivalent of what you’re making at home. Yeah, but the other mode of thought to like option three is what I really liked what Ashley is saying too and what I tend to do is I’ll buy the cheeses but then everything else I’ll just see what I have you know what’s in the crisper drawer what vegetables do I need to eat?


Grounded by the Farm  44:54

What’s our great at using them the day before put them in smaller bag Yeah, whatever.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  44:59

Yes, I’m All about, you know, they’re not being food waste for sure. And so that’s what I do you know, what condiments do I have on my fridge, what crackers, so I happen to have or some bread in the freezer and then and then that’s it. So it’s, it’s a little more affordable in that way. So focus on the cheeses, but again, you can ask your friendly cheese monger you know, hey, I’m looking for some affordable cheeses and they’re, they’ll definitely point you in the right direction. Just like


Grounded by the Farm  45:21

wine, you can spend a lot of money or you can get something more economical. Absolutely. I love that cheese is moving to that kind of realm, right? Because there was a time in my life where it was like, you had cheddar, you had American, you had mozzarella and cottage cheese, and not much else. Right? easily available to everybody, right. And now it’s definitely where like you can, it’s a playground of Jesus. And there are a lot more small local places that are selling and a lot of places that are doing different things. So I really appreciate your video with me. Now we’re gonna take some time look around the shop, I’m gonna video it so that people can see some of the tips you give me as you’re going through things. Do not calculate how much money I’m spending.


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  46:10

You could save with me,


Grounded by the Farm  46:12

for better or worse. Yeah, I knew this was coming for a while. So I just got thanks so much for being here. I’m gonna make sure we give the link so that people come to this area and they want to see if you guys are doing some classes or things like that. And Crystal Bridges is really quite close here. So yes, yes, it’s an easy visit when they’re here for that and the


Jessica Keahey, Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop  46:33

momentary, which is its sister Museum is literally next door to us. We can that’s what that is. Yeah, I didn’t even think it’s wonderful. Yeah, the whole history market is just really neat place where next to a brewery and artisan chocolate shop and all these delicious food vendors, culinary college that’s really state of the art. So it’s a really it’s a fun center. It’s just a common, you know, hang out there’s always events and activities happening here.


Grounded by the Farm  46:56

Thank you guys so much, everybody. If you have a cheese lover in your family, make sure they get this episode. And go ahead and listen back to the episode if you missed it, the one where we were talking with dairy farmers, the covariances and then logon Courtney, see what you learned from them as well as the Chi side. I know I always learn something every time around these folks. So look forward to talking to you again in two weeks grounded by the farm hit us up on the website to catch that video.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.