As you drive to the Foxboro Cheese Company, the attention of any New England sports buff will be at least momentarily diverted as Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, looms within view. Could there really be a raw milk dairy farm and cheese company so close to 70,000 rowdy football fans?
The answer is a resounding YES! Foxboro Cheese is a great example of a gem in the New England local food community hidden within suburbia. The farm owned by Ed and Nancy Lawton on family land for the past 300 years, has two businesses: Oak Noll Ayrshires raw milk only available for purchase at their farm store and Foxboro Cheese, a portfolio of cheese and yogurt products distributed at local farmers markets.
Melissa Gagne, Head Cheese Maker, (or Fromagière if you're in France), gave us the tour of the farm, beginning with the cheese making facility. Most of their cheeses including Fromage Blanc and "Bettah than Feta" (a creamy, less salty version of feta cheese) begin with the homogenization of the raw milk and then a period where the moisture is pressed from the milk as it becomes cheese.
Their Asiago cheese follows a different process. It is made out of raw milk and aged in a "cave" below the farm for months until it is ready. Melissa brought us down to the cave which reeked of a rich, intense smell any connoisseur of good, authentic, small-batch cheese would delight in.
After admiring the shelves of Asiago, we also stopped by to say hello to the Lawtons' herd of twenty-six pretty Ayshire dairy cows, happily munching on hay in the shed.
We left the farm with a bagful of cheeses, a couple of bottles of raw milk, and a great reminder that there is some wonderful local food being grown and produced right under our noses or, in Foxboro Cheese's case, under the noses of thousands of football fans.