Chances are, you’ve never heard of Bobolink Dairy & Bakery, but you may have eaten their cheese because they supply some of the best restaurants in the area. And if you’re a fan of Anthony Bourdain, you may remember, way back when he did the pilot of “No Reservations,” he featured a small cheese producer from northern New Jersey. That was Bobolink in their previous location.
Fortunately for us, Bobolink moved much closer to the New Hope/Lambertville area, to a farm situated in the beautiful countryside between Frenchtown and Milford, NJ. The owners, Nina and Jonathan White, started making cheese in 2003, from their grass-fed, humanely raised cow’s milk. Jonathan, a retired engineer, put his scientific mind to work studying the masters, and in the process, became one of the most highly respected cheese-makers in the country.
It only takes one taste of his Cave-aged Cheddar or Blue Drumm to reveal why he is so respected – this is truly exceptional American-made cheese. The Europeans may have centuries of tradition but the White’s cheeses can compete with the best of them.
When you visit the store, or see Bobolink at one of the farmer’s markets in the region, be sure to try as many as you can – working from the mildest to the boldest blue. Maybe bring a bottle of wine and buy a loaf of Nina’s delicious rustic bread to go with the samples.
Bobolink isn’t a restaurant, but many of you would enjoy taking some of their cheese home for your own creations. Whether you want a simple cheese and crackers dish for a cocktail party or you’re making a magnificent feast for ten, Bobolink’s cheese will elevate the occasion.
To enhance your visit to the farm, put on your hiking boots, and take a tour of the farm. Jonathan is a fantastic guide, making the tour enjoyable and informative for those of all ages. You’ll learn about Bobolink’s sustainable farming techniques and why their cows outlive “factory” cows and produce better tasting milk. You’ll see how they’re restoring the farmland to its previous glory, after it had been abused and nearly destroyed. And you’ll feel Jonathan’s passion for what he does.
The tour’s finale is back at the main building, where you’ll get a cheese tasting. It’s well worth the $5 tour fee. Even at $20 it would be a bargain! But Jonathan loves educating, so the fee remains nominal.
One of the things I found most remarkable was the bread oven. The farm looks totally rustic. You can imagine farmers and bakers working this way hundreds of years ago. But when you learn of the temperature sensors on the oven that Jonathan can monitor with his iPad, and the careful engineering that went into it, you’ll quickly realize that this ain’t your grandaddy’s farm! The careful juxtaposition of ancient and modern allows Jonathan to carefully control his processes, resulting in more even baking and better loaves.
Upcoming Events at Bobolink
Sunday, May 31 – Music on the farm series featuring The Blacktails
Sunday, June 21 – Music on the farm series featuring Meghan Cary
Sunday, August 23 – Music on the Farm series with Some Like It Hot Club
Sunday, October 4 – Music on the Farm series with The Fat Daddies
Guided farm tours – every Saturday and Sunday. Register in advance here.
Latest updates from Bobolink – farmer’s markets, store hours, etc.