Monday, November 16, 2015

White Lotus Farms

Basket of sample bread, cheese, and produce from White Lotus Farms.
A few days ago, Miriam Rahl, the Office Manager & Events Coordinator from White Lotus Farms asked if I would like to try some holiday preview samples of their products, including bread from their bakery and cheese from their dairy. I was very pleased to accept her offer, as I'm very interested in trying new local products from the Ann Arbor area.

Bread from the sample basket
The bread we sampled was very fresh and delicious. The whole-grain loaf was slightly sour and had a good crumb. The fruit-nut loaf was dense with cranberries and walnuts, and tasted really good with the goat cheese and cream cheeses included in the sample. Both breads were clearly the result of a long rising time, which of course is a key feature of artisan-made breads. The cheeses are mild and very pleasant tasting. The price list informed me that their prices are quite competitive with comparable artisanal products available locally.

Above: delicata squash ready to roast with onions.
Below: roasted vegetables with rosemary.
I was delighted with the delicata squash and the bunch of rosemary that were included in the sample basket as well, and used them in a dish of roasted vegetables we had that evening. According to the website, there are many other products to try, and I plan to buy and sample more next spring, when good things are in season at the Farmers' Market.

I asked about the bread-baking process, and Miriam wrote:
"A loaf of White Lotus Farms bread takes about 30 hours from mix to bake. Our dough ferments overnight in a clean, moist, temperature-controlled environment so that it can rise naturally. This slower fermentation breaks down starches and proteins in the flour, making the final product much more easily digestible. It also allows airborne micro flora and wild yeast to enrich the bread. ... With the exception of added ingredients like olives or walnuts, all of our breads are made with just flour, water, salt, and starter. Our ingredient list does not require any parenthesis after the word flour to tell you what all is in it. Our breads get their wonderful texture and taste as a result of natural processes rather than additives."
White Lotus goat cheese is made with milk from their own goats, while the cows' milk for their cheese comes from a nearby dairy farm. The cheeses are all made with fresh milk. White Lotus goats, I learned, give milk 10 months a year. Miriam wrote: "Since it is seasonal, we won't have fresh goat cheese for sale from New Years until early Spring.  This is precisely why we have begun making cow's milk cheeses -- so we can continue cheese production, and sales, year round."

From late spring through the fall, White Lotus sells their produce, cheese, and bread at their farm. They sell year-round at the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market -- including fresh produce from green house and hoop houses. For this Thanksgiving and Christmas, they are offering bread, cheese, and other products for order on their website, which can be picked up at two open-house days, November 24 and December 22; they also will be at the last Farmers' Market before Thanksgiving and Christmas (Wednesday, November 25 and Wednesday December 23). For details and pre-ordering, see this page of their website.

7 comments:

meigancam01 said...

Hello..
Very nice article.
Thanks for sharing.

Debra Eliotseats said...

How lucky! I love local and artisanal products.

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I am a big fan of local products. This bread looks delicious.

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

30 hours, that is amazing!

Dawn Yucuis said...

You were lucky to be able to try the bread and cheeses. The bread looks like it would be wonderful.

Jeanie said...

Very interesting article, Mae. Thanks for sharing it. I, in turn, will share it with my resident bread baker. Maybe one day I'll be in A2 when the market is open.This is something I'd love to try!

Kris said...

Thank you for this article, White Lotus Farms is an Ann Arbor GEM! I live off all of their foods,they are a beautiful farm growing organically, locally and lovingly <3