Rawson Brook Farm and Monterey Chèvre

IMG_0288 - Version 2Last weekend we drove over to Monterey, Mass. where, years ago, we had spent many happy summers. The old brown-shingled Cape we rented there was a mile or so down the road from Rawson Brook Farm which makes and sells Monterey Chèvre cheese. We used to walk from our place to the farm at least once a week along one of the prettiest stretches in the Berkshires. Nothing much has changed. New Marlborough Road still meanders past fields of corn flowers and goldenrod, over a brook, up a hill lined with ancient maples, and down into a long valley. Follow the road over the brook again and there off to the left, you’ll see a herd of American Alpine goats, sunning themselves in a paddock.

IMG_0294You’ve arrived at Rawson Brook Farm. The goats belong to Susan Sellew who has been making Monterey Chèvre on the property since 1984. It’s a quiet, peaceful spot. The three different flavors of cheese — Plain, Thyme and Olive Oil, and Chives and Garlic — are still sold in the milking shed on the honor system. They’re also available in stores around the area.

We ran into Susan on her tractor as we were leaving, and she told us she was on her way to the vegetable garden to harvest garlic. We took a moment to catch up on mutual acquaintances, the weather, and gardens — the conversational staples of country life. She agreed with my observation that the hard-learned lessons the garden teaches us one year never seem to apply the next. “But you have to be patient,” she said. “Because it all evens out in the end, don’t you think?” Then she shifted into gear and rattled off down the hill.

IMG_0299A lot of patience has certainly gone into making Susan’s mild, moist, fine-grained Monterey Chèvre. It’s easily spreadable — on freshly toasted multi-grain bread, perhaps, and topped with left-over ratatouille. Or try this simple, fast, and delicious recipe that I’ve adapted from the Union Square Cookbook for skinless, boneless chicken breasts, stuffed with chèvre cheese and herbs.

Slit a pocket lengthwise in the breast and spoon in (I actually do this with my fingers) chèvre, softened with some olive oil, and mixed with a handful of chives and herbs.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then saute until nicely browned in olive oil or butter.  I usually put the stuffed breasts in the oven for 10 minutes or so at 375 to make sure they’re cooked through and to let the chèvre/chive mixture infuse the breasts and melt a bit into the pan.  Spoon the melted chèvre/chive sauce over the breasts when you serve.  The chicken is particularly good with fresh asparagus and couscous.

What are you cooking these days?  Send me word in the comments section below.  It would be nice to hear from you!



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6 Responses to Rawson Brook Farm and Monterey Chèvre

  1. Bill says:

    I’m “cooking” history. Lots of it in The Berks. We were long since simmering independent actions out here “on the frontier”. It was no accident that the first railroads from the Hudson into Mass. came to West Stockbridge.

    Keep our pots boiling ! S/ History Bill

  2. Liza says:

    I didn’t know history could be cooked, Bill. Sounds like an interesting dish, though, especially when one of the ingredients is a stretch of railroad!

  3. Carole Hansen says:

    The chicken recipe sounds amazing and is on my must try list. A gentleman I work with manages a farm in addition to working at Star Service. His wife has started a business making soaps, candles, etc. from goat’s milk (facebook.com/simplysouthernsuds), and I’m going to share this posting with them.
    I just tried a new recipe for a tailgating party and will share!
    Green Bean and Bacon Salad
    1 lb French green beans, stems trimmed
    1/4 lb thick cut bacon, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
    1 shallot, finely chopped
    1/2 cp walnut halves and pieces, toasted
    1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped
    1 T grainy mustard
    1 T hot water
    Pinch sugar
    1 lemon, juiced
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
    In a large pot of boiling salted water. blanch the green beans for 4 minutes or until they are just crisp tender. Drain the beans, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, and drain well. Put the green beans in a mixing bowl.
    In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, until crispy. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Add the bacon to the green beans, along with the shallot, walnuts, and parsley.
    In a mason jar, combine the mustard, water, sugar, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in the oil, put the cap on, and shake vigorously to emulsify. If planing to eat the salad right away, pour the dressing over the green bean salad and serve. If taking on a picnic, put the salad in a sealable plastic container and pack the dressing separately until ready to serve.
    I’ve found turkey bacon to be a fine substitute in many recipes, and I’m sure this would be no exception. I did, however, splurge and use the real bacon this first time.

    • leila marks says:


      • Liza says:

        If you’re coming from Tyringham on Tyringham Road make a left on Route 23. New Marlborough Road will be the next road on the right. It will take you all the way to the farm, curving left after the little bridge — it’s a couple of miles. Please let me know how it goes! Thanks, Leila.

    • Liza says:

      Thanks for the link, Carole, and for this delicious sounding recipe. My tri-colored beans are FINALLY coming in, and I plan to make this when my extended family descends in two weeks for our annual Gyllenhaalfest.

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