TOPSFIELD — There must be other houses north of Boston with cement-lined underground structures, probably built during the Cold War for protection from the Soviet missiles and nuclear fallout that never came.
But doomsday has nothing to do with the space Elizabeth and Peter Mulholland are building into the hillside below their farmhouse. This will be a cheese cave, intended to safeguard their goat-milk tomme and cheddar from the vagaries of heat, light, and humidity as they age.
By putting cheese in the cave, Elizabeth says, “you’re allowing the natural ‘terroir’ of the area to go back in that cheese.”
Terroir is a term used most often in wine-making, referring to the natural qualities of a specific place, including climate and terrain. With its rambling barn and tree-lined driveway, Valley View farm sits on a hilly side road a short drive from the Topsfield Fairgrounds. But it’s also right at the intersection of movements for more local, natural, artisanal foods, and more energy-efficient production.
The Mulhollands got their first goats and began making cheese from their milk about 20 years ago.
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