Lime Kiln Farm

Something good is happening...

West Coxsackie, Hudson Valley NY

Lime Kiln Farm in the snow
Lime Kiln Farm in the snow
Cow barns
The pond
The Hudson River and the Athens lighthouse
Lime Kiln Farm private shale quarry
National Register of Historic Places landmark
The back of the main farmhouse in winter
Antique barns
Bobo loves it here!
Main farmhouse
Farmhouse and Pond
Main farmhouse
Il lago di Limekiln
Limekiln fields
The Dining Room
The Living Room
Stairway
Master Bathroom
Goat Barn during renovation
The Goat Dome
Goat Pan
Ice skating on our pond
Cows
Lime Kiln Farm in the snow
Cow barns
The pond
The Hudson River and the Athens lighthouse
Lime Kiln Farm private shale quarry
National Register of Historic Places landmark
The back of the main farmhouse in winter
Antique barns
Bobo loves it here!
Main farmhouse
Farmhouse and Pond
Main farmhouse
Il lago di Limekiln
Limekiln fields
The Dining Room
The Living Room
Stairway
Master Bathroom
Goat Barn during renovation
The Goat Dome
Goat Pan
Ice skating on our pond
Cows

About us: who we are

Welcome to Lime Kiln Farm!

After years spent working in the banking and insurance industries Alessandro and Brent decided to do their part to save farms, one at a time, long before the 'farm to table' movement took place.

They bought a first farm in Caprese Michelangelo, Tuscany in 1991. They completely restored it (it was built in the 1600's and abandoned since 1970), opened a B&B and restarted farming operations: raising sheep, goats, cows and pigs. The farm property is still active and in their possession Visit website.

In 2004 they expanded their farming activity acquiring a second property in Anghiari, Tuscany, and bringing it back to life, focusing on raising goats and producing artisanal goat cheese. For that purpose they formed a cheese production and distribution company named ABCheese. On top they started collecting and pressing olives from their 450 tree olive grove. Now, in its tenth year, cheese demand is stronger than ever and also the management of this farm continue to be in their possession.

This latest activity gave A&B quite a name in the goat cheese world: they have been invited to several Italian TV shows (local and national), they have been reviewed by numerous food bloggers and they have experienced raising popularity in the local food movement. Brent wrote a book in 2011 'Get Your Goat', published in the USA by Quarry books, which gave him a strong fame between worldwide goat raising experts. Buy 'Get Your Goat' on Amazon

Now A&B think its really time for them to bring back this long accumulated experience across the Atlantic and start a new farming and cheesing venture in the USA. The Hudson Valley, in particular, has been identified as the ideal location for such an initiative, not only because of its climate and topography, but also because of its proximity to large cities (Albany, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia) where the farm to table movement is now well established.

Our project

Goat cheese production in Tuscany

In Tuscany A&B currently have approximately 60 goats on the milk line. They are all registered Camosciate delle Alpi, Swiss Alpines (or Oberhasli as they are called in North America). Beautiful rust/fawn colored. Known as good hikers, great foragers, high herd instincts with a sweet, non goaty tasting milk. Although a higher fat content would be nice (avg 3.4%), the current fat % allows to make a variety of cheeses that would be difficult if not impossible with a higher fat count. All milk is processed on farm, making ABCheese a farmstead operation. A&B sell direct from the farm, participate in several local markets, make restaurant deliveries as well as group tours including cheese tasting events, cheese presentations at select high-end hotels, villas and castles. There is also a growing demand for cheese making classes.


Milk

A&B start milking the day the goat gives birth and continue on until the start of November. This usually results in an 8.5 month lactation. Eastern Tuscany, where ABCheese currently operates, is truly goat paradise with thick vegetation, abandoned fields and overrun pastures: goats are free to roam at will, deciding for themselves what they will eat. Although much healthier for the goat, it does add an extra challenge for the cheese maker. Unpasteurized milk is always a bit unpredictable, even more so when the animals are out roaming 100's of acres of woods every day. What they eat, affects the milk, affects the cheese.

Cheesemaking would be easier if the animals were kept in the barn eating hay every day. On the other hand, goat keeping would be easier the animals would roam everyday. Goats in a commercial herd live an average of 4 years, going thru 3 lactations. ABCheese oldest goat is 10 and she is still the highest producer in the barn. 22 A&B goats are 6 years old or older with no sign of stopping. It is clear that ABCheese goats will continue to roam freely!

Milk naturally goes through cycles. As soon as the babies are born, the milk, although not overly abundant in quantity, is very high quality, very high fat content and protein content for the growing kids. This to a cheese maker is the cash crop. The milk is almost no-fail. Every cheese rich and smooth, you wish the milk keep this level of quality all through the year. But, as the goats move onto pasture and sweet fast growing grass and leaves, the milk swells to higher quantity but the fat and protein ratios dip. Cheese yield is actually higher but it is not so easy to make our spring time favorites like spreadable Chevre or really gooey Brie. There is a proverb in Italian that says the month of May is the time for stacking up on cheese and firewood and that's what is done at ABCheese. The milk, although not as fat, is abundant and healthy as the goats are on pasture and that happy/healthiness is transferred to the cheese.

With the heat of summer, milk production falls a bit as the goats are hot and eating less.

September and mating season sees a small rise in fat % and milk quantity which quickly fall off in both accounts by mid October.


Cheese

Even though ABCheese currently do heat treat most of the milk for their cheeses, nevertheless some raw milk cheeses are made (no heat or cooling treatment before cheese making). It is not a sanitary requirement in Italy to heat treat or to pasteurize milk before making cheese.

ABCheese currently makes

  • Yogurt (in this case pasteurization happens as yogurt is heated to 90C for fat breakdown)
  • Chevre. Soft, creamy, a bit sour, lightly salted.
  • Cabrie. A Brie type, both in large and small size, with light white mold exterior the interior softens with age.
  • Primo Sale. Farmhouse cheese. A no fail recipe. Slow stirred, bit salty, bit sour, always tasty. Ready in 3 days, ABCheese best seller.
  • Caciotta, a hard table cheese. Depending on the technique the curd is cooked for long term aging, washed for softer type cheeses (Gouda), washed for pasty cheese, covered in ash or wrapped in leaves. Can be sold in two weeks or two years.
  • Ricotta. The whey is 're-cooked' and ABCheese ricotta is the best in the world. Ricotta is always made with leftover whey from Caciotta.
  • Pyramids, logs, rounds. French style. Bloomy rinds, creamy under crust, can be somewhat chalky center.
Also liquid milk can obviously be sold, or used in making goat milk soap (another ABCheese best seller). In Tuscany ABCheese is also in talks with a local 'World Champion' gelato maker for starting a frozen yogurt, ice cream line.

A&B are very aware that their cheeses as they know (and LOVE) them in Italy may be somewhat different when in production in the USA. Different goats, different climates, different food sources, different cheese cultures, rennets, vats, regulations will no doubt have affects on the cheeses produced. Nevertheless Alex and Brent passion and belief and want to make great cheeses does not change and that has lead them to believe that, if they can do it in Tuscany, they can do it also in the Hudson Valley!


Inquiries - Where we are


Facebook Flicker Linkedin Pinterest Twitter

Our email address for inquiries and reservations is:

info@limekilnfarm.com

PASTORI MAREMMANI ABRUZZESI - MAREMMA SHEEPDOG

Our protector and our friend: Bobo

At Limekiln farm we protect our livestock and our farm with Pastori Maremmani Abruzzesi, also called Maremma Sheepdog in the United States. We have always had Maremma dogs in Italy while we were farming over there for over 25 years. Bobo (in the picture) has been with us for 14 years in Tuscany, in Michigan and in New York State. He is family.


Main features of Maremma sheepdogs

Maremma dogs have unique features. To summarize them in a few words (having owned some for 25 years) we would say: they are dogs that use their head. This means they decide what's best for them in a specific situation ...and mostly what's best for the animals (or humans) they are protecting. So the wisdom about Maremma dogs that they don't take a command well it's actually true ... A command it's just another input for them ... if it makes sense to them, they will follow it, but if not they will ignore it. Don't try to change that: you will be disappointed. If you want a dog that obeys blindly get a German Shepard ... not a Maremma dog. Nevertheless, they are very affectionate dogs, don't get us wrong, they tend to get attach to one person (like most dogs) but they are also very sweet and affectionate to multiple people. Always compatibly with their job of protector... if somebody challenges that, it becomes somebody to watch carefully ...forever! This feature is absolutely key against predators. Wolves and Coyotes have sophisticated hunting techniques (normally they tend to spread out the herd, distract the protector and separate weaker animals in order to attack easier) so having a decision maker in the barn or on the field is the only way to save your animals. A Maremma dog will act in team, interpret predators behavior and adapt his protecting strategy against them. Normally females are the most effective protectors. If you have a working farm and you need to protect your animals (sheep, goats, cows, lamas, etc) from predators (wolves, coyotes, etc) this is your dog. He/she takes his/her job seriously: unknown animals or humans will have a hard time approaching your herd or flock. This dog doesn't group animals, he stays with the animals and never leave them. In the mountains of central Italy that what shepards needed him to do... for centuries! This dog needs: space and independence. If you have an apartment don't get one! He or she will adapt (they are very good in that) but it will suffer! Unless you plan to go outside with him/her many times a day for a long time (pretty unrealistic).


Maremma sheepdogs of Limekiln Farm

Our Maremma dogs at Limekiln farms have been imported from Tuscany, Italy in 2013 and 2015. We currently have one lovely young female, Pippa, and a senior fantastic male, Bobo, who has been with us for a long time in Tuscany, Michigan and New York State. Two more youngsters (a male and a female) are currently still in Tuscany and will be joining Bobo and Pippa in May and August 2016. Our dogs socialize naturally with their parents and, mostly, with other farm animals: sheep, goats and cows. A dog of this breed is a protector (we never get tired of repeating this), it's in their DNA, they have been doing that for thousands of years (a description of this dog can be found in ancient roman books from the first century) and they need that. This is why we do not separate them from their mothers and farm animals before 4 months. If you do that they will be inprinted as protectors for ever ... if you don't (most breeders don't) you will have an unhappy, huge lapdog!

Please contact us if you are interested in one of our unique puppies.