Last week we bought a chunk of Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk cheese at the Point Reyes Station farmers market, from a vendor who also sells cheese by another company. I've never talked to her about it, but I'm assuming she's a middleman, not directly related to Cowgirl Creamery.
Her prices are fair; she offers sample bites; she's friendly when she's not otherwise distracted.
But oof. She sold me a stinker.
Was it her fault? I'm not sure it was, although as a vendor of foods, she ought to be a little vigilant about the quality of the products she puts out.
Cowgirl Creamery offers their wonderful cheeses in whole balls or halves, and I usually get the half. It is wrapped and labeled, but there is never a date on the label.
This cheese was simply too old. The red tinge on the rind had migrated all the way over the cut surface, and the whole thing was smoodging around in a smelly, wet bath of putrefaction. I couldn't throw it away fast enough. (Cranky and I were sitting at a picnic table in the vicinity of other people; so embarrassing. Who did that?)
This isn't the only time I've had a problem with the age of a Cowgirl Creamery cheese. I once tried to buy a Red Hawk at their store in the Ferry Plaza mall, but it felt way too firm to be enjoyable any time soon. I asked a salesperson about it, and she said if I would come back in an hour, another delivery of cheeses would have arrived and I could select a riper cheese then. That sounded odd, but I went back in an hour, and sure enough, there was a batch of riper Red Hawks. How could she have known that? And why weren't the riper cheeses in the store earlier than the less ripe ones? Again, no dates on the labels.
I am a huge fan of Cowgirl Creamery. I have supported them since their early days when they weren't, frankly, all that skillful at cheesemaking. I've enjoyed their development and diversification, and I will probably continue to patronize them.
But please. How about a little quality control?