Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Redhead Creamery cheese
You gotta love the next-gen ag kids who infuse energy into the old family farm. Alise Sjostrom grew up among the cows and cats of Jer-Lindy Farms in Brooten, about an hour west of St. Cloud. When she was 16, she decided she wanted to make cheese, and eventually designed a major that allowed her to do that at the University of Minnesota, before immersing herself in Vermont’s farmstead cheese-making culture. She then returned home and dug into the traditions of the region. In 2013, a $40,000 Kickstarter campaign helped her and her husband Lucas launch Redhead Creamery on her parents’ farm.
Construction challenges (“Hey, let’s move an entire granary to make way for cheese!”), faulty vats, and the like slowed things down at first, but Redhead Creamery has finally hit its groove. Today, it’s busy putting out a spectacular farmhouse-aged cheddar called Lucky Linda, which is aged in caves beneath the creamery for at least a year. Natural molds cleave to its rind, giving the smooth and rich cheddar a unique depth of flavor. Redhead also does a younger cheddar called Red Temper that’s rubbed in cayenne and adds the best creamy kick to your cheeseburger. And don’t even get me started on the oh-so-accurately named Ridiculously Good cheese curds.
But the elegance of the Little Lucy brie is what caught me this spring. Named for Alise’s daughter, the small, snowy white tower of lightly aged brie is both fresh and complex. Here’s the thing: You need to buy two at a time. The first you should rip into right away to indulge in the delicate grassy notes that pop through like the first tulips in March. Have patience with that second package. If you want to experience the same cheese, only with a little bit more funk, a bit more dense creaminess, let it hang in your fridge for another couple of weeks. It’ll break down as it ages, becoming more mature and gooey when cut into. It makes you wonder what the cheese’s namesake next-next-gen farm girl will someday become. What will she bring to the farm?
Available at Lunds & Byerlys, Lowry Hill Meats, area co-ops, and other locations, plus online at redheadcreamery.com.