I do so appreciate the work that so many of you are doing to produce good raw milk, but
also appreciate those of you who study and drink it.
I own and run a micro-dairy in Eastern Virginia, where the Rappahannock River meets the
Chesapeake Bay. I produce aged raw milk goat cheese from fresh warm milk, with no
rennet, starters, cooking, etc. I discovered several years ago, that the fresh product was
called Bonnyclabber, and that the Blue Ridge where I was born, was dubbed "Bonnyclabber
Country" by settlers traveling through and settling Virginia during the 1700's. The term
was originally an Irish one, meaning clabbered milk, but was anglicized to Bonnyclabber
by the Scotch-Irish. During my dairy and genealogical research I also learned that my
ancestral Scotch-Irish, were not actually Scots and Irish marrying in the new country. They
were in fact, Presbyterians Scots who had removed to Ulster in Northern Ireland for a
hundred years previous to coming to America. They mixed Irish traditions with their own,
and brought them to America. Back in Ireland, clabbered milk and cereal grains were
eaten together daily, in America cornbread was substituted, (introduced by the American
Indian). When I was growing up in Virginia in the late 50's, early 60's, buttermilk with
cornbread crumbled up in it was still a daily staple....
So why is this all so important??
Raw milk, even raw buttermilk, is a heritage food that is no longer legal in Virginia! I
would like to be instrumental in helping change this. That's one of the reasons that I'm so
vocal about how I make the cheese from naturally clabbered milk. Another reason is that
the natural enzymes are so healthy and beneficial, and yet another is that this process
makes cheesemaking accessible to every home kitchen, with only milk......just like it used
to be, when there were no suppliers to get rennet to the backwoods.
I am a new Weston A. Price member, and have requested to be a chapter leader, as well.
There's no one close enough for me to get raw milk year round, and I'd really like to help
change that. It's awfully funny that I am, and have been, working so hard to produce pure
raw milk to make my cheese, and can only get raw milk myself five months of the year!
This 'healthy' life is often very taxing, without enough sleep....sometimes not very healthy,
but very satisfying.
We also designed a 12X24 dairy that includes milking parlor, milk room, and cheese room:
all compliant with Grade A specifications. We had a $3,500.00 Amish-Built Barn dropped
onto the property. Then we put up all the partitions for the rooms, and outfitted them as
much as we could with used equipment. Total cost was $16,500.00. It was important for
me to create a legal cheesemaking facility that would be almost as accessible as the 'just
milk' cheesemaking process. Of course since we are small and only use raw milk, we don't
have to have any bulk tanks or pasteurizers. We don't have bottling equipment, as we are
only making cheese.
I will teach my first class in a couple of weeks:
TRADITIONAL AMERICAN FARMHOUSE CHEESES-----------BONNYCLABBER
OCTOBER 1-2 Heamour Farm, Madison NY
Rona Sullivan from Sullivan Farm Pond in Deltaville VA
explains her technique of making cheese without culture or rennet.
Contact Shannon Nichols at 315-893-7616 or e-mail: heamour1@...
Rona Myers Sullivan
Sullivan's Pond Farm, Inc.
"Man cannot live by bread alone...
He'd better have some goat cheese and wine to go with it!" Rona