Berkshire Blue Cheese on Meatless Monday

Jun 2014

Let’s take a visit to Berkshire Blue Cheese on Meatless Monday. Small batch, handcrafted and lovingly created, this is an artisan business Green With Renvy loves to share.

berkshire blue cheese meatless monday

Ira Grable, owner of Berkshire Blue is a man passionate about his cheese product.  His small warehouse and manufacturing facility is found on the edge of downtown Great Barrington. About a 2 1/2 hour drive from Boston, it’s a perfect stop on a weekend trip to this bucolic part of Western Massachusetts. Anyone interested in learning more about knowing where your food comes from will leave well informed. The visit was an education in the process of cheese making.  Berkshire Blue is made daily using unpasteurized milk from Jersey cows, which has a higher butterfat, calcium and protein content, resulting in  a creamy, tastier cheese.

ira garble berkshire blue cheeseThe process is incredibly scientific with exact recordings of enzymes and microbes, times, dates and temperatures.  Ira refuses to add any additional supplements to his recipe, so the final product will have a range in density of the cheese from slightly softer than cheddar to a firm brie, and this characteristic is largely dependent on the cow’s diet.

forms berkshire blue cheeseThe first week in the molds, the cheeses are turned every twelve hours, and then every second day. One batch involves 200 gallons of raw milk, two starter cultures, two blue molds and a white mould for the skin.

great barring ton berkshire blue cheeseBerkshire Blue is aged for 60 days and has a skin {not rind} that is entirely edible.  The end result is a buttery flavor with a lovely, complex blue cheese taste. The small batches are sold in the area to local cheesemongers and restaurants featuring farm to table experiences. You can also find it on line.

berkshire blue cheese meatless mondayWith fresh  strawberries and watercress appearing in my areas markets, I thought a salad highlighting those ingredients with Berkshire Blue would be the perfect marriage of ingredients.


Watercress, Strawberry and Blue Cheese Salad {serves 4}

You will need 1 bunch watercress, 12 strawberries, 8 cherries, 2 small beets, blue cheese, good quality balsamic vinegar.

  • Wash and prepare all ingredients for salad. Vary above amounts as you like.
  • We are eating beets raw these days, cut in small chunks they have a crunch like apples.  If needed, they can be boiled or roasted for the salad.
  • Reduce 1 c. balsamic vinegar by low boil until thick-approximately 15 minutes.  It will turn syrupy as it cools. My house likes things tart, but you can sweeten the syrup with a small amount of honey if need be.
  • Prepare salad on plates. Using a vegetable peeler, shave blue cheese onto salad and drizzle with balsamic syrup.

Appointments can be made to visit Berkshire Blue Cheese on the weekends and Ira is also available for private tastings.  I certainly have to agree with Berkshire Blue’s hang tag- This labor of love is udderly delicious!

  1. noel says:

    Wow, what a labor intensive process but definitely worth the effort. I love your salad, will have to try making it some day.

    • alison says:

      I made a bigger version for dinner last night and it was delicious. My daughter thought the cress was a bit too peppery, so bib lettuce would be fine, but I loved the combo of heat, savory and sweet.

  2. Patti says:

    mmm…. cheese! What’s not to love?! We live near an old-fashioned creamery where they make award-winning blue cheese. It’s called the Rogue Valley Creamery. It’s an interesting process that reaps such fabulous results!

  3. Julie says:

    Looks yummy! I will have to try your salad recipe.

  4. I love blue cheese and this looks amazing. Definitely, a labor of love!

  5. Being from Wisconsin, I’m a bit of a cheese snob. I understand how you have to love cheese to coddle it like Ira does. Your salad looks so delicious, I can’t wait to try it.

  6. I used to daydream myself as a cheese maker (and even own a few dairy cows in Guatemala I could put to good use) but based on my research and your comment that “The process is incredibly scientific with exact recordings of enzymes and microbes, times, dates and temperatures” it’s probably best I stick with writing for now 🙂

    • alison says:

      Michele, I used to have that same daydream on the farm, but mine veered more towards vegetables and flowers. Such hard work, I really admire all the small farmers around the US trying to make a go of it. I went to another wine/cheese tasting where one of the hosts was a microbiologist from MIT. Had no idea all that went into making this product I love so much!

  7. Michelle says:

    I am a VERY strict vegetarian. I do eat cheese, but I’m afraid blue cheese is about the only type I don’t like. I think it would taste fine on that Watercress, Strawberry and Blue Cheese Salad though!

  8. I love artisan food and to learn about their processes. I especially enjoy great cheese when I know what it is made of and where it comes from. I love purity. Beautiful and interesting post!

  9. Blue Cheese often gives me headaches, so I avoid it, but I enjoyed your tour anyway.

  10. So much goes into making cheese. Thanks for the tour.

  11. So you left me salivating and wondering where this place was…did I miss it?

    Great post!

  12. I love blue cheese and your salad looks delicious, especially with the combination of strawberries and blue cheese. Another thing to put on my list of things to do or eat when we go back to the US for a visit! mmmmm!

  13. My husband and I both attended Williams College, up Route 7 from Great Barrington, so I have a good deal of nostalgia for the Berkshires in Massachusetts. The last cheese tour we went on was in Normandy, France. This one sounds like it was a lot more personal. I’m also quite fond of cheese with salads containing fruit, so I’d probably really enjoy the one you shared.