Cinnamon can take the blame for the fact that the Scholtens are dairy farmers and not bakers. After Adriena and Jacob Scholten left their native Holland as newlyweds in 1959, they landed in Iowa where Jacob worked as a baker. But, as one of his four sons, Wayne, tells it, “His hands became allergic to cinnamon, so he had to quit.” Although Jacob continued to bake more than a dozen loaves of traditional Christmas Dutch raisin bread with almond paste filling every year, he moved on professionally to work first as a mason and then as the hired man on a New York State dairy farm before the family went into farming for themselves.
So it’s (partly) thanks to cinnamon that folks in and around the Syracuse suburb of Baldwinsville will be able to visit Scholten Dairy on Sunday’s Open Farm Day, during which several dozen Cabot co-op members around the Northeast will welcome the public to their family farms. “It’s good for the city people to come here and see what we do,” suggests John Scholten, “so they know what goes on at a dairy farm.”Cinnamon changed these Dutch immigrants from bakers to farmers. #FarmLove Click To Tweet
The Scholten farm is run today by three of Adriena and Jacob’s four sons: John, Wayne and Arie, who is known as Piels. Their youngest brother, Robert, works full-time off the farm but still helps out and his son Robbie, who is studying agriculture, works on the farm weekends and summers. Robbie’s brother, Billy, has also worked summers on the farm but is away at college now.
In addition to milking 400 cows, the family runs a pretty large grain and legume-growing business, raising wheat, soybeans and corn, much of which goes to a local ethanol plant. The brothers divide tasks among the two parts of the business. “I’m the cow boy,” Wayne says with a chuckle. John focuses on crops and Piels helps with crops and fieldwork.
Jacob, their father, has passed on but their mother, who is known as Ada, is still an active 87-year-old. The boys fondly remember classic Dutch recipes their parents cooked for them growing up. There were lots of butter-based Christmas cookies and the Dutch favorite kroketten, a delicious and economical way to reuse leftover meat roasts minced fine, mixed with a rich gravy and chilled before being rolled into balls or sticks, breaded and fried. John’s son Adam still likes to make them occasionally.
The brothers are proud of the fact that their milk goes to make Cabot products and Wayne always includes Cabot cheese in his holiday gift baskets. “When we go visit people,” he says, “I can see in their eyes they’re hoping we’ve brought their cheese.” On Open Farm Sunday, cheese-lovers in the Syracuse area will be in luck since Scholten Dairy will have plenty of free Cheddar samples on hand. It’s not too far to travel either, points out John Scholten. The farm is so close to the city, he jokes, “If we let the cows out, they’d be in downtown Syracuse pretty quick.”
Scholten Farm is one of several dozen Cabot farms that will open their barn doors to their communities on Sunday, October 9 from 11 am-2 pm. Each participating farm has planned different free activities, such as hayrides, scavenger hunts and games for kids. You’ll meet neighbors, farm critters and the farmers responsible for the World’s Best Cheddar. And the best part? Sampling Cabot’s awarding-winning cheeses!
Adam Scholten, grandson of Adriena (Ada) and the late Jacob Scholten, still remembers his grandparents cooking traditional Dutch recipes for the family. He occasionally makes kroketten. Although he’ll stew up some beef special for the dish, one of the charms of this recipe is that it can use almost any leftover cooked meat as the base mixed with a rich gravy.
For the meat:
- 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef
- 1 onion, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For the gravy:
- ½ cup (1 stick) Cabot butter
- 1 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups beef stock (made from cooking meat or packaged if using leftover meat)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Flour, egg, breadcrumbs, oil.
- Place the beef in a large pan or slow cooker with just enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a simmer. Skim off the foam and add the onion, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and garlic powder. Simmer, covered, for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is very tender. (If cooking on the stove, check to make sure liquid does not simmer away.) Strain the cooking liquid with any cooked onions and set aside to use later. Allow the beef to cool and then mince it finely.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in flour and cook about 20 seconds, whisking constantly, just until light golden brown. Slowly whisk in milk. Stir until smooth and bring back to a simmer. Cook, whisking constantly, until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in beef stock and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes on low heat, stirring regularly, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in chopped parsley. Stir beef into gravy and transfer to a baking dish to cool to room temperature. Cool overnight until solid.
- After mixture has solidified, with wet hands roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into approximately 1/2 inch balls, about 50 to 60. Put some flour in a shallow bowl and roll balls in flour before placing on a rimmed sheet or shallow roasting pan. Chill balls in the freezer for about an hour. (You can also freeze them completely at this point for future use.)
- When ready to cook, whisk an egg with a little water in a shallow bowl. Fill another bowl with fine bread crumbs. Roll chilled balls in egg mixture and then in bread crumbs. Pour oil into a large frying pan to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Heat to 400 degrees and fry kroketten in batches until golden, 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and cool briefly but serve hot.
Another version of croquettes features Cabot cheddar and potatoes.
Try these Cheesy Potato Croquettes
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Melissa Pasanen is an award-winning Vermont-based journalist and cookbook author with a focus on food, farming and sustainability. She was the writer for The Cabot Creamery Cookbook (Oxmoor House, 2015).