Weekend in Tampa Bay: Monthly Family Fun Event at Water Buffalo Italian Cheese Farm!
“Cheese is milk’s leap towards immortality.”
Those of you who are looking for local natural and organic products (cheese, meat, herbs, beverages, beer and wine) may get interested in the event that takes place once a month at a Water Buffalo Farm. I met Antonio Casamento, a host of the event and an Italian cheese making business owner, earlier at one of the Fresh Markets in Tampa Bay Area, and was very impressed by the quality of cheeses (Mozzarella, ricotta) and yoghurt made of Buffalo milk. Antonio and his family represent a local cheese making company Bufalina A.C. (artisan cheeses). He is in charge of the whole operation from start to finish: rescuing Water buffaloes, taming them and using their milk to produce top quality cheeses and yoghurts with no artificial ingredients, hormones or preservatives. He started from eight Water buffaloes imported from Italy, and now he has a 30 plus herd of those stubborn beautiful creatures roaming in lush fields of Thonotosassa, just off of South East of Tampa, FL.
Antonio and his team of professionals, including the experienced biologist responsible for quality assurance, are big supporters of sustainable and organic methods and practices when it comes to food production. So, he surrounded himself with like-minded business owners to present their products at a monthly Family Fun Event. You can meet here an herbal tea grower Toni from Sereniteas & Soothers, folk herbalist and organic grower Willow LaMonte from Willow Herbal Delight Gardens, Jenny Franklin from High Springs Orchard & Bakery with her chestnut spreads and gluten-free chestnut flour, Jack Slaydon from Healthy Heritage Beef with a variety of local grass-fed meats and many others.
The event starts at 11 am on last Sunday each month and lasts until 3 pm. You can enjoy a true Florida rural outing with music, Water Buffalo cheese sampling, organic herbs and seeds, local artisan bread, BBQ, organic olive oils, local beer & wine and more. If you have kids, rest assured they will have plenty of space to run and a few animals to pet. Last time I was there, kids were all over a small open chicken pen. There were also two small pigs and a rabbit to pet. Most of water buffaloes could be seen roaming far in the field under shady trees while only a few were right behind the fence for the visitors to see them.
It feels great to support local businesses and to know those neighbors personally. Tampa Bay is quite a big area but it is a small world. Interest in Antonio’s cheeses was shown from investors, and currently, he looks forward to opening his first store in South Tampa. Several restaurants are interested in using Antonio’s cheeses in their recipes. Chef & Owner of Villa Verde Cafe in Spring Hill, FL Rosario is already using Bufalina’s ricotta cheese in his ravioli dish.
Please visit http://www.cheeselicious.net/about.html for more information about Bufalina A.C.
Next event is on Sunday, September 22, 2013 @11am – 3pm. Free entrance.
The address is: 2382 North Kingsway Rd., Thonotosassa, FL, 33584. Tel. (813) 473-2105.
Directions: take Exit 10 on I-4, go North on 579, right on Pruett, pass the stop sign, then school, continue North on N. Kingsway for 1/3 mile. The gate is on curve to the left. The sign says “La Fattoria”. Go through the gate and you will see parking to the left.
Credit Cards are accepted by most vendors (for cheeses – for purchases over $35) or cash.
Antonio and his “cheeselicious” team can also be found at local farmer’s markets: at Hyde Park Market every 1st Sunday starting October, and at St Pete Fresh Market every Saturday starting October. You can also sign up for their cheese making workshop. The next one is on September 28, 2013. Learn more at http://www.cheeselicious.net/about.html.
Interesting facts about Buffalo Milk:
– 43% less cholesterol than cow milk
– 40% more protein than cow milk
– 58% more calcium and high in iron, phosphorus and vitamin A
– suitable for lactose-intolerant diets
Enjoy and remember to share with your friends!
The Amateur Expert.
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Author: Elena White