I first encountered cheese made by Vicky Brown (and her talented goats) at the home of her sister, sculptor Sue Taves. We were having a meeting in preparation for a group art show, and Sue had brought some of the cheese for a snack. I should mention here, in the interests of full disclosure, that I am not a “goat cheese” sort of person. I felt I should be polite and at least try it, while first making disclaimers about my animosity towards stinky cheeses. In the end, I was exceedingly polite, not quite eating my weight in cheese, but making progress toward that end. For the record, cheese from the Little Brown Farm is far away from the world of “stinky cheese.”
People who are passionate about what they do, interest me. People who are passionate about what they do and who are very good at their chosen obsession are the people I want to have as my closest friends. Most particularly, those who are good at making food and wine! Vicky is very, very good. In addition, she adores her goats (or her girls, as she refers to them) and views them as partners in the process, not just tools of the trade. Her husband, Tom also works with, as well as for, the goats. (See Vicky’s earlier post on that topic)
As a painter, I have long held the philosophy that when you buy something made by hand, made with passion for the process, you are not only buying a “thing” to put on your wall or on your dinner plate, but supporting the tradition from which that painting or cheese springs. Listen up: this is important! Things made by hand matter. Yes, they may cost more than something made in a big factory. I’m also not saying that everything should be made by hand. (Look at my new car! I knitted it myself!) What I am saying is that when we have the opportunity to experience or own a handcrafted product, be it cheese, painting, or textile, we should. If we are able to keep these traditions alive and viable, our lives and our world will be all the better for it. And, the only way to keep them viable is to support them financially, is by buying them.
So, if you live on Whidbey Island, go to the Farmer’s market, find The Little Brown Farm’s booth and buy some cheese. If you live somewhere else, I bet there is a farmer’s market where you live too. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did.