Do you dream of making your own fresh cheese, cured meats, preserves, and fermented foods at home? If you answered “yes,” then taking a workshop at Oakland-based FARMcurious may be just the path to a dream come true.
Visionary owner Nicole Kramer Easterday is an entrepreneurial urban homesteader whose up-and-coming business, FARMcurious, is dedicated to educating, inspiring, and equipping her patrons with skills for producing and preserving food at home.
“I love teaching people how to live more sustainably and reconnect with their food in meaningful ways,” says Easterday. Her students learn practical techniques to help them confidently craft delicious, nutritious food in their home kitchens.
FARMcurious offers a selection of DIY workshops that run the gambit from home cheesemaking and brewing, to edible landscaping, fermenting and more. Each hands-on class includes an introductory discussion and detailed handouts, as well as personalized instruction in a supportive, small-group atmosphere.
A married mom with a young son, Easterday took a leap of faith five years ago to follow her life-long passion for food. At first, she managed FARMcurious as a part-time business while keeping her corporate day job at a New York legal publishing house. Today, her popular workshops are selling out and she’s expanding her offerings. In addition, the well stocked FARMcurious webstore offers a range of kits and products to equip the urban homesteader, get them started, and keep them inspired.
I recently spent a Sunday afternoon at a FARMcurious cheesemaking workshop. Over the course of three hours, Easterday instructed us on the fine points of crafting a delicious fresh goat’s milk cheese, as well as a more complex cow’s milk mozzarella.
After listening to an overview of the process, we broke into groups at stations equipped with everything we needed. With the grace of a symphony conductor, Easterday moved fluidly between the tables to lead us through each step, oversee our work in progress and offer advice. She encouraged us to ask questions and have fun. By the end of the class I could hardly wait to head home and test out my newly learned skills!
This slide show traces our class in action making fresh mozzarella cheese. Though this particular cheese is more labor intensive to create, I was astounded by the finished reward. There’s nothing better than eating warm, fresh-made mozzarella straight out of the vat!
To learn more about FARMcurious urban homesteading workshops and see what’s coming up, or to purchase supplies, visit their website. Happy homesteading!
This looks like so much fun, Karen. I have made only ricotta so far. Another cheese-making blogger told me that’s a gateway to other cheese. I hope so! I have wanted to try making mozzarella for a while. I think I just need to find rennet. Or take this class 🙂
I’m a newbie cheesemaker Anne-Marie–but this workshop gave me the confidence to forge ahead. I’m particularly pleased to discover that making fresh chèvre from goat’s milk is so easy–and SO good! Haven’t tried ricotta yet, but it’s on my list next.
Karen, this looks fantastic, very interesting topics beyond the cheese preparation as well. Thanks for sharing the experience.
Thanks Peggy. It’s so great that we have a resource like this. Nicole does a great job of making the experience fun and approachable for all!
Very interesting. It must be great fun learning to make cheese.
It’s very empowering Jovina! Amazing how self-sufficient you feel when you can make your own cheese and do things the way our great-grandparents did. Plus, the taste is incomparable! Such a sense of accomplishment.