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Farmstead Cheese, Wayland Square, Providence

I stopped in to check this supposedly awesome cheese place out today. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

For the most part their cheeses were over priced, the staff members were snobby and worst of all they were selling OUTDATED products. I'm not talking about a day or two. This goat cheese I bought was 2 weeks out of date!!!

This is something that MIGHT be acceptable from a grocery chain. I could understand it being overlooked there, but in a specialty cheese store..

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  1. Seriously? I'm shocked re the dates - I agree that their prices are on the high end, but not any more than any other specialty cheese shop. I find the people who work there to be nice and helpful. Maybe you go them on a bad day . . . .

    1 Reply
    1. re: gansu girl

      When you pay those high prices, there is no room for a "bad day" buy a sweater from the store take it home its ripped a but so you take it bad no questions asked Yes the stores in the East Side are a bit snobby But they will feel it Go to Whole Foods Very nice helpful and they know their products

    2. As a Farmstead fan, I'm shocked about the dates too... I've not seen this.

      As others have mentioned, prices are on the high side, but I can forgive that in a specialty store... I have a harder time forgiving the snobbery. The folks there are hardly welcoming and friendly, and that *can* hurt a specialty store...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Garris

        My thoughts are similar to Garris. The high prices are high because the cheeses are expensive, not because there are super-high markups. I don't understand the "date" issue--I've never bought a cheese from them (or any other decent cheesemonger) that had a date on it. The cheese is good until it's not good--you should always taste it first. If it's one of the small, whole crottin or other French cheeses, if it's been properly aged, the sell-by date, if there was one, would be meaningless. And, to the extent their are dates, are you sure it's not from Europe, where the day and month are reversed?

        With that said, I haven't had a great experience with the attitude of the people that I've encountered there. I never feel I get enough information or suggestions on new things, and I just end up buying what I know, which isn't nearly as satisfying.

      2. Too bad. I've always found the staff friendly and helpful. They offer samples of everything, including hefty slices of their fine salamis. Considering that many of their cheeses are not available at supermarkets like Whole Foods, I do not find their pricing structure out of line.

        1. I've not experienced either of your complaints at Farmstead. in fact, when I've gone in, even when it is busy, I have found the staff very ready to try and figure out something that will buckle my knees and I must have. They have always been very friendly to me.

          I lean hard on the very frugal side of things, so walking into a pricy store like that tends to seize up my purse strings, not loosen them. The staff also never wrinkle their noses when I want small pieces of cheese the way other specialty stores do.

          Sorry if you had a bad experience. Did you take the cheese back?

          1. Add me to the list of the folks surprised at the past-date cheese. Did you go back and try to return or exchange it? Farmstead is usually nothing if not meticulous, so I imagine they would want to know if they made a mistake.

            I usually receive excellent service there, but I'm a semi-regular and know some of their staff from around town, so it's not surprising. I had a few chilly staff experiences at their downtown location shortly after it opened, but not for a while now.

            And the prices? It's extremely fancy cheese. It's very expensive. I somehow contain my shock.

            1. I have to defend Farmstead too - every time i've been there, (many times) I find the staff to be helpful and knowledgable, both in the restaurant and in the Downtown and Wayland Square locations. Getting outdated cheese is not something i'd expect from them, and i'd definately return it.

              1. I have been there many many time and have NEVER had any problem. The staff is very knowledgeable and the products great. When cheese is aged for say 2 years.. it doesn't go bad after 2 years and 2 weeks. I know..Im an executive chef. Just wanted to let you know!!! Happy cheesing

                1. I am surprised to read this post. I make it a point to stop by Farmstead (Westminster) every time I'm in town. I never go to the East Side location since I am West Side. I know that the Westminster shop has wonderful stock and staff - cool and nice as hell. Love that place. We just finished up an unbelievable gouda (caramel-like) and a few delicious Naragansett Creamery cheeses (OMG). I don't experience sticker shock - good food and drink are priceless in my opinion.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: digga

                    I don't experience sticker shock usually either (I just don't purchase it) but I was really shocked when I looked at some of the prices for the meats downtown. Imported Serrano Ham for 25 dollars a pound or whatever I can understand but domestic Bresaola for 38 dollars a pound seems ridiculous. I am tempted to buy just a slice to freaking try it out since it costs more than ordering a steak online from a place like Peter Luger's.

                    I know little about the food business, but I feel like they purposefully try to keep the most specialty expensive products to keep prices high when there are much better values to be had. I am surprised they carry naragansett creamery cheeses because of this but then again they charge a lot more for them than other places if I remember correctly

                    1. re: Sambossanova

                      38/lb does sound fairly insane, although in general it's good to remember that cured meats often wind up costing very little per serving, because you're eating extremely thin slices. $5 worth of salumi and such is usually plenty for my girlfriend and i to snack on a couple of times. Comparing the price per pound to a steak, however expensive, is apples to oranges. Or at the very least, apples to dried apples.

                  2. I used to go there when they first opened in their Wayland location and found many of the same items at the Whole Foods, nearby, for less price.

                    I'm an expert at comparative shopping as I am a restaurant owner. I recommend anyone that has a problem with pricing of specialty food items to shop around.

                    And, being in the food service industry for 29 years, I can say that the service at Farmstead was not stellar the first year they were open, though I cannot vouch for it now.

                    With regards to the selling cheese two weeks out of date, I'm sure the health inspector would have an interest in that as that IS illegal, regardless of the stupidity of certain US laws regarding food.

                    All this being said, I've always thought Farmstead and La Laiterie are wonderful additions to Providence's culinary scene, overall.

                    1. Stopped in at Farmstead yesterday evening and had another swooningly lovely time there. I brought a friend who lived in the area only for a short time, so she could see what she was missing by leaving us.

                      Granted, it was not busy, but I felt incredibly well taken care of there and still have seen no trace of snobbery on the part of the staff. We weren't in a hurry, so we let a woman go ahead of us. Everything she tasted, he proffered to us also and even the delivery guy who was walking out the door.

                      Then we started our tasting. We were going to try 3 or 4 types and take one or two home. Everytime we asked for one, he'd take 3 similar cheeses out and give us progressive tastes. Ask for a gouda and he says we need to try the triumverate of sheep, goat and cow ... ooh and one other goat. By the time I walked out there, I had sampled 15 cheeses and took three modest size chunks home. Yes, there was upselling involved, but I didn't mind because it was very subtle. There was no pressure: I was led to making a more informed choice that I was happier with.

                      I walked in there right after meeting someone at Whole Foods, where I was considering getting a chunk of cheese. I'll admit that the cheese probably cost $4 less per pound at WF instead of FS. But guess what? I sampled it at Farmstead and it wasn't what I wanted, so saving $4 wasn't the main point. WF and East Side Market will give you samples that you directly ask for, but their goal isn't to share extra with you.