Nashville’s Bloomy Rind Brings Variety to Cheese Lovers

Cheese…Do you really need incentive to read more? Apparently not considering the International Dairy Foods Association statistics. The IDFA reported in 2011 that the average American consumed 33.50 pounds of cheese.  To picture how much that is, image a four-year-old child made of cheese. Because we are so cheese obsessed, many of us are looking beyond the processed cheeses of supermarkets past. Lately, there has been a resurgence in the Artisanal Cheese movement.

specialty-cheese-nashvilleThe American Cheese Society defines artisan cheese as, “a cheese is produced primarily by hand, in small batches, with particular attention paid to the tradition of the cheese maker’s art, and thus using as little mechanization as possible in the production of the cheese. Artisan, or artisanal, cheeses may be made from all types of milk and may include various flavorings.” The speciality care these fromagères give their cheeses imparts a unique flavor that is not found in industrial cheese.  If you are looking for artisanal cheese in Nashville, search no further than The Bloomy Rind::Artisan Cheeses.

Owner Kathleen Cotter is looking for cheese made with integrity.  When she lost her job in Human Resources, she began to look for a new career that gave her purpose.  While volunteering with the Generous Harvest Program through Nashville Food Bank, she discovered her passion for quality cheese.  Since the beginning, Cotter created The Bloomy Rind as a conduit between the cheese makers and people who care passionately about their food. She hoped to tell the story of the artisanal cheese farmers and support their ethical practices.

specialty-cheese-meat-assortmentBefore she had a storefront, she set up shop at the Nashville Farmer’s Markets.  The owners of Tayst allowed her to slice and package her cheeses during off-business hours.  Then, she would run a stall in the Market.  This time in the Farmer’s Market gave her insight and helped her form relationships with her providers. It was there she met the owners of Porter Road Butchers.  Together, they opened a shared shop with the matching goals of providing sustainably-sourced food of the highest quality.

When she first began The Bloomy Rind, it was challenging to find local cheeses.  The Tennessee Artisan Cheese Scene is growing, but currently there is not enough variety to stock the shelves of the store. To ensure her customers have access to the best cheese, Cotter extends her sourcing to Southern regional providers.  She uses two criteria to determine if she will stock a cheese or not.

bloomy-rind-2How are the animals treated?Pasture raisedHormone-freeAntibiotic-freeHumanely TreatedHow is the cheese made?Small batchNo automated systemsPeople involved in the cheese making process.The Bloomy Rind supports sustainable farms that produce a product with character.  Manufactured cheeses are concerned with sameness and consistency.  While there is some consistency for Artisanal Cheese, there are also subtle flavor differences that change from season to season.  The taste changes as the animals feeding habits change.  This distinctness creates unique cheeses that cannot be reproduced in a large-scale production plant.  In addition to the unique flavors characteristics, there are other benefits to artisanal cheese.

Cotter supports Southern Regional Creameries like Noble Springs Dairy in Franklin, Tennessee and Chapel Hill Creamery in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  These are prime examples of the sustainable farms The Bloomy Rind purchases its ingredients.  Both farms take great pride in the production of their products.  This pride is evident in the quality of their artisan cheeses and in the humane treatment of their animals.

Chapel Hill Creamery notes, “our herd spends its time on lush pastures and the intensive rotational grazing system ensures that our livestock will have access to high-quality grass during the growing season.”  Noble Spring also mentions, “we take pride in knowing that every drop of milk that goes into our products is derived from the natural forages that our goats enjoy on our farms.”  This quality of farming not only ensures excellent products, it make a healthier product.

According to eatWild, “Milk from 100-percent grass-fed animals is much healthier than ordinary milk. It has a higher concentration of vitamins and antioxidants, fewer “bad” fats, and more “healthy” fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and CLA.”

The Bloomy Rind’s high standards of selection is reflected in the superior quality of the cheese and the ethical practices of its farmers.  Artisan Cheese not only has more unique flavor profile than industrial cheese, it is healthier and more humane than most factory farms.  Cotter’s cheese can be found melting on a sandwich at Sloco, adoring a charcuterie plate at fine dining restaurants, or decorating the shelves at her store.   No matter the source, you can be assured it is cheese made with integrity, and that tastes delicious.

By Dee Gross