Camp Notes Day 9 - Elihu Farm / Ricotta

<      >

Camp Notes Day 9 - Elihu Farm / Ricotta

IMG 4933Today we took a field trip to Elihu Farm to visit Mary Pratt's sheep, geese and chickens. Back at the kitchen we made ricotta! And some deliciously refreshing lemonade...Keep reading for recipes and photos from our day.

Our challenge today was to complete a "shot list" on our farm visit. This meant we would need to critically look at the landscape, animals and people around us rather than just snapping photos and hoping for the best.

Here were the things we were looking for:

Elihu Farm Shot List

IMG 46011. The Land - images that exhibit agricultural scenes, show overall of the farm.

2. Details - look deeply into the scene to capture the parts that make up the whole. Detail shots are often the difference between a good set of images and a great one. Detail on a boot or belt. A symbol on a truck, get close!

3. Everyday Life - show the farmers and workers in action, their everyday jobs.

4. Portrait & Style - make a portrait of someone (we interpreted this as animals too) on the farm, what they wear, where they work.

5. Signs - inspirational saying or signs that may hang in the farm or the name of the farm, decorations around.

6. Which Kind of Farm? - show the different thing this farm makes.

7. How does it feel? - show if it is quiet or busy.

8. Machines - what are the different kind of machines or handmade utensils present on this farm and how are they used? 

Mary Pratt gave us an excellent tour of the many facets of her farm - we saw everything from rams to geese to chickens and even a wetland area!


IMG 4631

IMG 4771

IMG 4701

IMG 4821

IMG 4867

With our shot list bagged, we headed back to The Arts Center to start the ricotta process! It takes a little while and involves a few breaks in the action. During our time "off" we watched the Greenhorns' latest short film, "The Solution to Pollution is Life," about soil remediation in Philadelphia.


Farmer's Cheese (Ricotta)


IMG 4900

Recipe based on one by Jennifer Wilkerson on the From Scratch Club website

About .5 pounds of cheese and 1-1/4 quarts of whey

1/2 gallon whole milk (we used Battenkill Valley Creamery)
1/4 cup white vinegar
Dash of fine sea salt, up to 1/2 teaspoon
Juice from 1/2 lemon

- Mixing bowl
- Heavy bottomed pot
- Thermometer (optional)
- Wooden spoon
- Colander
- Length of cheese cloth (an actual cloth rather than cheese cloth tends to work just as well)
- Jars or small bowls for storage 

1. Set the colanderIMG 4903

2. Set the pot on the stove, attach the thermometer if using. Turn heat on to medium low. Place an ice-cube or two in the bottom of the pot. Swirl the pot to distribute the melting ice over entire bottom, this helps keep the milk from scorching the bottom of the pot. Gently pour the milk down the side of the pot. (Your goal is to not disturb the water.)

3. Without stirring, let the pot sit undisturbed until the milk reaches a temperature of about 190 degrees. If you aren't using a thermometer, heat until small bubbles appear and the surface rolls a bit but the milk does not boil. (Note from Jennifer "The boiling point of milk is close to the boiling point of water, which is 212 degrees F at sea level, but milk contains additional molecules in it, so its boiling point is slightly higher.")

4. Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the vinegar and lemon juice. The milk should begin to curdle and separate into curds and whey right away. If it doesn't, add 1 teaspoon of additional vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes undistrubed.

5. Pour the curds and whey into the cheese cloth lined colander. Sprinkle with salt. Tie up the cheese cloth around a wooden spoon and let it hang over a bowl or pot for 30 minutes to one hour. Check the curds every 5-10 minutes starting at the 25 minute mark for your preferred constancy. You should have a nice spreadable, firm yet still wet, cheese. If you drain too much of the whey off, you would have a very crumbly spread.

6. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to a week.

We tried our ricotta right away on bread two ways: peach slices with agave syrup and tomato with basil. 

IMG 4923

IMG 4925

What to do with Whey?!

Here is a great list of ideas for things to do with your leftover whey!

We saved ours to use tomorrow in our pizza dough, but were intrigued by the idea of whey lemonade. So much so that we were inspired to make some (more traditional) lemonade ourselves...

IMG 4914"Jarlemade"

1. Put the juice of half of a lemon in a quart-sized mason jar (the juice of a whole lemon would be better we think, but we only had half of one left over from the ricotta making)

2. Add some Agave syrup (to taste)

3. Slice about half a peach and put each slice through a garlic press into the jar

4. Fill the rest of the jar with water, screw the top on tightly and shake!

5. We garnished our lemonade with chopped basil - mmm refreshing.



Photos by Holly Rippon-Butler. Check out our Facebook page for more photos from the camp! Be sure to join us for the opening reception of the kids' photos. You can read more about The Arts Center on their website.

Help make ASA's land conservation and community outreach work possible - there are a number of ways you can become a supporter! 

The Latest NEWS

Happy kids for web

Happy Kids Farm

Patrick and Peggy McLenithan donate their development rights on Happy Kids Farm to ASA. "I couldn't see it destroyed. It would have eaten my soul. This land is meant to be farmed."  - Patrick


1 Summer17 FullerAcres Couple17LawrenceWhite

Fuller Acres

"When I was a teenager, there were 15 other dairy farms in this valley. Now we're one of two that remain." – Douglas Fuller

Learn more...

resized for web

Thomas Organic Dairy

"I would like to come back 100 years from now and see all of our neighbors still farming. I'd like to see agriculture on Route 40 thriving." - Tammy Thomas



Follow us on Social Media


 Instagram logofacebook    twitter   YouTube

Instagram: AgStewardshipAssociation

Twitter: @ASAFarmland