Updates & Blog

Posted 8/22/2014 2:06pm by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

I know it’s been a while since I last checked in. Always busy around here. But I wanted to check in and share some of our farm with you, so here it goes…

 

We took a third place in our category at the American Cheese Society Awards this year. The event was held in Sacramento, California this year. The competition drew over 1,685 cheeses from 248 cheese makers. Ohio’s Mackenzie Creamery also won third place for fresh flavored goat cheese. A full listing of winners is here. If you completely love cheese, next year’s event will be in Providence, Rhode Island. Want to keep it more local? Think about supporting the Ohio Cheese Guild.


Yellow House Cheese can now be found at Cleveland area Heinen’s stores! You should be able to find both Wooster Pike and Yellow House Blue. They recently posted about us in their blog post. We have been extra busy in the make room all summer ramping up production. We also have a few more new retailers coming up. I’ll let you know more as first deliveries are made.


 

If you haven’t seen the farmer articles in the New York Times and the reply in the Huffington Post in the last week, these two articles are worth the read.

 

Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Farmers

Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Farmers

Here’s my take on those two articles.

I love being a family farmer. I am proud of what we do. We are fortunate that my husband has a great off-farm job. I get nervous that I push my kids to do too many chores. I don’t want them growing up to hate the farm life.

We are relatively new farmers. We’ve been making cheese for only three years now. While I have learned much, I have much more to learn. We have really great customers and have built solid relationships with chefs, restaurants and retailers. Life around the farm is hard work. And the work is never done. I’m not sure that everyone understands the lifetime commitment that we have made to this farm and business.

I get really frustrated when people under value what we do. Three weeks ago I received a request from a major player in the cheese world to send out samples and a price list. I was excited for the opportunity. So I packed up the cheeses, included the list and sent them out. A week later I received an email back with positive feedback on my cheeses and interest from this retailer on carrying my cheese. Taking this on would be huge for us, but I am telling you I was super excited.

Then came the conversation about pricing. I was asked to lower my prices. Because according to the retailer, although my cheeses were of high quality, my prices were going to be too high using the traditional retail mark-up equation. The retailer said if I would lower my prices, we could make a deal. I kindly asked if they could renegotiate their costs and lower their mark-up margins. That didn’t seem to go over so well. The retailer said their costs were fixed by contracts and could not be adjusted. I explained my costs were also fixed and I wasn’t moving off my prices.

I was pretty disappointed that the deal fell through, but I can’t screw myself in the long run for others to make a higher profit.

We are making payments around here, not profits.

Like I said, we are new and I am patient, but when dealing with others who say they understand where the farmer is coming from, I call bull shit.

Another distributor pleaded with me on the phone to lower my prices because he had to make sales calls and schedule lunch meetings. I asked him if he thought his job was harder than mine.    Cue the crickets.   Then I asked why he thought he deserved to get paid, but requested that I lower my prices. That conversation sure ended quickly.

So bringing it back to the articles, I love what I do. I love the circle of life on this farm. I love feeding you all tasty cheeses, lamb, pork and chicken. I believe that I’ll get back from this world what I put into it. The fact is right now we’re not making any money; fortunately we are able to keep paying on our investments on the business and the farm. I look at it as a marathon and not as a sprint. Just know that when you go to a farmer’s market, local restaurant or retailer, shopping and spending local makes a difference. A huge difference. This week I was able to pay to put tires on the car so I could safely drive to market. This week the girls started fall soccer practice. That’s where your money is going when you shop at market—to our family and others just like us. Thank you.

Know your farmer, keep supporting the cause and saying thank you to your farmer  goes a long way.


 

Learn more about other Ohio cheese makers in this article from Crave Columbus. It gives more insight on what it is really like to be a farmer and cheese maker in Ohio. My favorite quote,

“We’re going to do what’s right, even if it’s detrimental to the bottom line,” says Nick, the carrot-topped and engineer-minded patriarch of the large family. (Personable and friendly Celeste is his direct counterpart with a hippie-meets-farmer-meets-mom cool.) “We make all our decisions at the dining room table, not the board room table. That makes us hard to compete with.”


 

Markets this week:

  • No Medina Market for us-- you can go enjoy the International Festival.
  • Shaker Square Saturday 8-Noon.
  • Howe Meadow in Akron Saturday from 9-Noon
  • Chagrin Falls on Sundays from 10-1.

Just added at market: Whey-fed pork. Available in select cuts of chops, steaks, sausages and roasts.

Coming up: Freezer lambs available starting September 20th. Price is $4.35 per pound plus $100 processing fee to the butcher. Average weight on freezer lamb is 60 pounds to give you a rough estimate on price.

      


 

 

 

 

 

Fair round up

I am so proud of my girls. Corinne and Ellen had a very successful 2014 Medina County Fair. They showed chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, goats and cows. They also competed in the lamb carcass competition. Ellen won 4th and Corinne won 8th.

The highlight of the week was the unplanned participation in the Duck Race. The finals pitted Corinne versus Ellen. Ellen pulled out the win for the trophy but it was honestly a hoot. They won lots of ribbons and had a great time. Love those girls.

Here are some pictures from the week.

                    




Posted 7/11/2014 11:34am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

Overwhelmed with pride from all the love.

If you didn't get a chance to catch the article in this week's Cleveland Scene Magazine, we  are featured in the 2014 Cleveland People edition with 30 folks who make Cleveland a great place to live. Here is the link, http://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/the-cheesemongers-kristyn-and-kevin-henslee/Content?oid=4337122

I'm not going to lie, when I first got the call I thought someone was playing a joke on us. I don't consider ourselves to be as fascinating as All-Star Michael Brantley. But, it is nice to be recognized. Thank you again for all of the support. I hope to see you all at market this week!


Farmer's Markets this week

 

Come out and visit Medina! The Medina Farmer’s Market runs from 9-1.

Shaker Square market continues on Saturdays from 8-Noon.

Countryside Conservancy at Howe Meadow market on Saturdays from 9-Noon.

We will return to the Chagrin Falls market on Sunday July 20.

 


 

Social Much? Like/Follow/Find Us: 

           
As always you can find us on Twitter @YHC_YellowHouse, PinterestInstagram and Facebook

Posted 5/29/2014 11:40am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.


Medina Market Starts this Week!

 

Come out and visit Medina! The Medina Farmer’s Market starts this Saturday, May 31 from 9-1. We can't wait to see all of our local customers! 

Shaker Square market continues on Saturdays from 8-Noon.

Countryside Conservancy at Howe Meadow market on Saturdays from 9-Noon.

We will return to the Chagrin Falls market on Sundays starting June 8.

Please come out and visit us at all of the markets. Reminder that store hours at the farm will be on Thursdays from 6-8pm starting June 5th.

 


 

Make Your Reservations Now!

Announcing our first Plated Landscape Dinner with Spice of Life Catering Company. This is your chance to come have a five course catered meal on the farm. The dinner will feature all of our cheeses, lamb and chicken. If you have never dined at Spice Kitchen & Bar or attended one of their catering events, trust me—it’s going to be fantastic. More information can be found by clicking here. Reservations are filling quickly and are required for this event. 


 

Social Much? Like/Follow/Find Us: 

           
As always you can find us on Twitter @YHC_YellowHouse, PinterestInstagram and Facebook

Posted 5/22/2014 10:23am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.


Hello Spring! Yellow House Cheese has been busy, busy, busy!!

Well, lambing is all finished at the farm. And I’m not going to lie… I start off taking perfect records, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, dates, weights, all things important, but by the end of lambing I’m like, “Yep—it’s a lamb.” So my best guess is that we birthed nearly 150 lambs. Some were sold for the Easter market (aka cash flow) and the rest are being raised as replacements and market lambs. Of course the girls have a few lambs that they are raising for 4-H as well. With all those lambs flows all that milk. I’m milking about 50 ewes and making cheese 3-4 times per week. To say that it’s busy around here is a vast understatement. I milk around 6 and 6 and the girls get up before school to do their chores. They feed the three bottle lambs, chickens, ducks and 4-H turkeys. They also have pigs and pheasants they take care of after school. Between school, chores, soccer and helping with milking, they are giggling and fighting with each other.


 

Announcing our first Plated Landscape Dinner with Spice of Life Catering Company. This is your chance to come have a five course catered meal on the farm. The dinner will feature all of our cheeses, lamb and chicken. If you have never dined at Spice Kitchen & Bar or attended one of their catering events, trust me—it’s going to be fantastic. More information can be found by clicking here. Reservations are filling quickly and are required for this event. 


 

We will be doing four markets this season, and I can’t wait to get out and see all of our fun customers again. We are currently at Shaker Square market on Saturdays from 8-Noon. Countryside Conservancy market on Saturdays from 9-Noon. We will start at Medina Farmer’s Market on Saturday, May 31 from 9-1 and finally we will return to the Chagrin Falls market on Sundays starting in June. Please come out and visit us at all of the markets. Each market has a different feel with unique vendors. It really makes a difference to farmers and artists when you choose to shop local. Let me know if you are looking for a specific product or food, I’d love to recommend one of our friends.   


For those of you who can’t make it to market, Ellen (my soon to be 9-year-old daughter) has decided to have store hours at the farm on Thursdays from 6-8pm. Chickens, lamb and cheese will be available for purchase at the farm. If you get there at just the right time, you might be able to catch some sheep milking action too. Store hours will begin on June 5th.


         

This year we are adding a few different products to the market line up. As always we will have our signature, farmstead Yellow House Blue sheep’s milk cheese. This flavorful blue cheese won a 2013 American Cheese Society award. Sophisticated and full of flavor, this is a really great blue. Yellow House Blue will be ready at the beginning of June. Wooster Pike, our fan favorite cow’s milk blue cheese will be in full production through the summer. Sunshine Gold, which is the former ‘Market Special’ will be back at markets this year. I have limited availability, but what is made is super tasty. Announcing our newest cheese, Kendall, a mixed milk sheep and cow blend, bloomy rind cheese. It’s kind of like a camembert/brie style that is smooth, subtle and creamy. Because I only have one aging space, I am getting a little bluing along with the fluffy white mold you would expect on a bloomy rind cheese. The inside is not blue So for all of you who keep asking for a non-blue cheese, here is your chance. Wheels and slices will be available at our first markets of the season. So get a bottle of wine, gather some friends and enjoy all of Yellow House’s yummy cheeses this summer.

We are also still bringing lamb to market as it is available, most likely being in full production in early July. We are happy to be bringing whey-fed pork to market this year, as well as the girl’s pasture raised, whole chickens. If you are interested in chickens, please call ahead and place your order so I know to bring enough to market. We have around five available now and 50 will be available in six weeks. If you have had our chicken, I know you are a fan, if you haven’t had it yet, you are really missing out.

 


Can’t wait to see you all out at market! It’s going to be a great year!

Thank you for all of your support.  


 

           
As always you can find us on Twitter @YHC_YellowHouse, PinterestInstagramand Facebook

Posted 5/16/2014 7:25am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.
Weekend Market Update: Yellow House Cheese will not be attending the Shaker Market this week. We will be back next week with our tasty cheeses. We will be at the Countryside Conservancy market. But please note that Howe Meadow is flooded and we will be inside at Old Trail School. See you on Saturday in Akron.
 
Click here for the Countryside newsletter.
 
I will get you all a full newsletter next week.
I noticed it's been a while. To say we've been busy is an understatement...
Posted 2/21/2014 8:45am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

Well, it's that time of year again. Time to snuggle sweet baby lambs. We are about a week into lambing and have 20 lambs from 10 ewes. Only about 90 more ewes to go... Everything is going well and the lambs are soooo cute. We bred some of our flock to a meat ram so we are getting some very interesting color combinations of white, black, speckled and gray. I don't have very many cute pictures to post, but if you want to catch what is going on around the farm follow us on instagram for the best pics.


      



Farmer's Market

Kevin will be out at the Shaker Farmer's Market on Saturday from 9-Noon with Wooster Pike, King's Castle, ground lamb and whole roasting chickens. Kristyn will be at Old Trail School from 10-1 with all of the same yummy meats and cheeses.

We are planning on attending three markets this summer-- Shaker Square, Medina, and the Countryside Conservancy Howe Meadow market all on Saturday mornings. I am also planning on making store hours at the farm one night a week for those of you who just can't find us out during the weekends. 

 

Farm Haiku

Ram lamb or ewe lamb

Single, twins, triplets or quads

Anxious lamb mom waits

 

4-H for You?

It's time to join 4-H if you are 9-18 years old. Check with your local county extension agent to find a nearby club. 4-H is a really great organization for kids. Many projects to choose from and tons of learning opportunities. Learn more at http://www.ohio4h.org/

 

A business that I love:

I love Ohio Cheesemakers. We are some pretty fun folk. If you haven't already, check out Lake Erie Creamery. Brian makes some really interesting and flavor packed, cheesy goodness. He will be out at Old Trail School this weekend if you would like to try his cheeses. Check out the website at http://www.lakeeriecreamery.com/

 

 

           
As always you can find us on Twitter @YHC_YellowHouse, PinterestInstagramand Facebook

Posted 2/7/2014 11:55am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.


Well, it's still freezing out. Below freezing--- way below freezing. I love the winter, I love the snow, I love the frozen ground--- wind chills in the negatives? Not so much. Ewes are braving the weather quite nicely. We did not have the sheep shorn before lambing this year. It's just too cold for me. This will be the first time we didn't shear before lambing, we'll see how that will work out.

Nobody has had a baby yet, I am guessing that we should start seeing lambs later this weekend. Let's hope they are just not all waiting for the coldest night.

 

Nothing says I love you like a nice bottle of wine and some great, local cheese for Valentine's Day. Get yourself out to market on Saturday to get ahead of the crowd. Cheese is tasty this week and both Wooster Pike and Market Special will be available.

 

Speaking of Market Special-- it started out as our accident cheese. It is our Wooster Pike recipe that we forgot to poke, and therefore did not blue. But it's still way tasty. Well now customers are loving it and we need a new name. Market Special is just not cutting it for us. I am taking suggestions for a new name. If you are the creative type and love the YHC, please submit some cheese names to us.

 

Sad news: we are sold out of lamb chops and shanks. Good news: Plenty of ground lamb is left for winter comfort foods. Check out our Pinterest page or tasty recipes from the American Lamb Board. It is Lamb Lovers Month, you know.

 

Kevin will be at the Shaker Market and Kristyn will be at Old Trail School this Saturday. Ground lamb, cheese and whole chickens will be available. The Wooster Pike that is ready right now is really great. Get out tomorrow morning and get some. All of our sheep’s milk cheese is sold out until June. 

 

We had some t-shirts made up. They are awesome, $14 and will be for sale at market this weekend. Represent!


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
            
As always you can find us on Twitter @YHC_YellowHouse, PinterestInstagramand Facebook

 

Posted 1/17/2014 1:39pm by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

 



Happy New Year! Lots of random things going on around the Henslee household lately. The ewes are about a month away from lambing time. They have been moved into the barnyard and are being fed corn every evening to provide them with enough energy to finish out their pregnancies. Cows are at home and Winnie had a baby heifer calf last week. Porkchop is due next week. I’m hoping for another heifer calf, but I shouldn’t say that too loud. (I wanted Winnie’s calf to be a boy.) All the animals made it through the super-cold just fine. We put down a load of extra bedding and made sure the hay was great quality and kept the water troughs as ice free as possible. Now I am just trying to get caught up on bookwork and taxes before the lambs come. That’s amazingly exciting. And I also need to get back out to the make room and keep making our yummy cow’s milk cheese. I am going to try a few new things for the 2014 season—stay posted for the results from my trials and errors.


 



Kevin will be at the Shaker Market and Kristyn will be at Old Trail School this Saturday. Lamb, cheese and whole chickens will be available. The Wooster Pike that is ready right now is really great. Get out tomorrow morning and get some. All of our sheep’s milk cheese is sold out until June. Looking forward to start making sheep cheese again starting in March.


 



If you really love Ohio cheese, please check out the Ohio Cheese Guild. We are involved in this new group. The Mission of The Guild is dedicated to the support, education and promotion of producers of farmstead, artisan, and all fine cheeses in the State of Ohio, and the chefs and retailers who feature Ohio cheeses. To accomplish these goals, we aim to have a Board of Directors and general membership made up of diverse individuals. This includes cheesemakers, chefs, cheesemongers, enthusiasts, professionals, legal counsel and public relations/marketing specialists. Consider a membership—Friends of the Guild Memberships start at $60.

Speaking of Guild Members, our friend Brian Schlatter of Canal Junction Cheese won a 2014 Good Food Award with his delicious Charloe. Results are here. You can learn more about Brian’s cheeses on his website

And here is a fun little article about our friends at Kokoborrego Cheese Company.   


 

Are you looking for recipes to try? Featuring Yellow House Cheese? Look at this tasty little treat from Grilled Shane. Hit up the markets this weekend to find all the ingredients needed. 


 

We had some t-shirts made up. They are awesome, $14 and will be for sale at market this weekend. Represent!




 

While we are looking forward to 2014, we did take time to reflect on an awesome 2013. Here is what we came up with…

Top 10 for YHC in 2013
1) Winning an ACS award
2) Buying a new farm for our sheep to rotationally graze.
3) Being named one of the Top 10 local foods in Cleveland.
4) Meeting some awesome new market friends like Andy, Shane, John, and Erin.
5) Hearing feedback from our awesome market customers.
6) Working with great chefs who appreciate local and mean it
7) Being able to work with my girls on the farm everyday
8) Meeting more Ohio cheese makers and becoming friends. I love the spirit of the cheese makers in this state!
9) Realizing that you can learn many life lessons from working with sheep every day. I love my sheep, especially #98.
10) It takes a lot of work to bring handmade, local, tasty cheese and lamb to you all. Thank you for appreciating us and supporting our small business this year.

 

            
As always you can find us on Twitter @YHC_YellowHouse, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook


Posted 12/19/2013 6:01am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.



Just a quick reminder that the store at the farm will be open tonight, Thurday from 4-7 for on-farm cheese and lamb purchases. We will also be open on Monday, December 21 and Monday, December 30 from 4-7. Remember that cheese makes a great hostess gift or a tasty appetizer for your party and family dinner this Christmas and New Year. 


There is also still time to reserve your Ohio Cheese Basket from Kokoborrego for pickup this weekend. Click here for info.


Just wanted to let everyone know that you can find us on facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Follow along to learn more about our farm.


Posted 12/10/2013 11:47am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.




Announcing Holiday Store Hours at the Farm

We have had many requests to buy our cheeses directly from the farm. We are announcing limited store hours at the farm for the holidays. We will be open Thursday evenings from 4-7pm on December 12 & 19, and Mondays December 23 & 30, also from 4-7pm. You can get all of your favorite Yellow House Cheeses, lamb, & chicken. I am also going to try to source some local eggs for sale as well. Store hours are for the holidays only.

Speaking of Lamb

We have processed the last of our 2013 lamb crop. If you want to stock up on shanks or chops, you should do that soon or you will be waiting until June for family raised, local lamb. Ground lamb should last us through late January or February.

Don’t forget the girls raised chickens this fall


Whole chickens are avialable for $4 per pound. It sounds expensive, but I promise you will never eat a more delicious bird. These birds were moved to fresh grass each day and were raised by Corinne & Ellen. Birds are 4-6 pounds and will feed the entire family with leftovers. Plus you can make up a small batch of yummy stock when you’re finished.

We Can Ship for the Holidays!

Send Yellow House Cheese to friends and family far and wide. Cheese can be cut to order and you can also include your favorite lamb cuts too! Call the farm to schedule your shipments.

Need a more complete package? Check out this link from our friends at Kokoborrego Cheese Company. They have put together a nice local basket and it even features our Wooster Pike Blue. Sign up for your basket soon.

Pasture Update—SURPRISE!


The ram obviously got out with the ewes this June because we were surprised with two sets of lambs this Thanksgiving. A set of twin ewe lambs and a single ram lamb are now bouncing around the barn. So cute! We are expecting the rest of the lambing to begin on Valentine’s Day.

New Farm Update


The fence is working out awesome. The ewe lambs are being rotated through the pasture almost every day. We’ve been cleaning out the bank barn for ewes to come in before Christmas. We supplement our ewes with corn in the last trimester to keep both the ewes and unborn lambs growing and warm, so it’s time to bring them in off pasture.


Did you see us in the Farm and Dairy? Check out the article here.

  • Two more markets before Christmas. Find us at Shaker on Saturdays from 8-Noon and at Old Trail School from 10-1. Cheese makes a great hostess gift! Or need to host your own party? Just throw together a wine and cheese tasting and you won’t even need to cook.
  • If you are looking for other local foods for the holidays, please send us a message. We’d love to recommend some of our favorite farmer friends for you to try.

Much love and peace from the Henslee’s