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Aug 22, 2013 09:34 AM

Local cheese challenge!

Someone started a thread a while back claiming there was no "proper" cheese in the US. Of course s/he was quickly disabused of this notion. However, that brings up an interesting phenomenon: the rise of artisan cheese making across the US.

Now, I live in Northern California. We're incredibly spoiled with the amazing array of local products and always on the first wave of any food trend. But more and more I'm running across references to artisan cheesemakers in places I don't think of as food trendsetters, most recently Tennessee.

So here's a the challenge: find the cheesemaker closest to you, whether it's just down the road or 100 miles away. It might be closer than you think!

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  1. Indiana here. This is a place not typically thought of as a chowish destination or a foodie haven, yet there are some wonderful artisanal and/or farmstead cheeses to be found within a short drive time for me (< 3 hrs). Offhand, the producers I can think of are Jacobs and Brichford Cheese, Caprini Creamery, Canal Junction Cheese, and Traders Point Creamery (all of which are farmstead, I believe). There's also a local cheesemaker who uses extra Traders Point milk to create flavored cheeses. Of course, there is the nationally recognized and quite well known Capriole goat cheese!

    I am delighted by the trend in local cheesemaking (and the production of quality local food in general!_

    2 Replies
    1. re: nofunlatte

      I am obsessed with Swiss Connection's grass fed Kase (raw milk) and Maybury (pasteurized) cheddars. They are located in Clay City, Indiana. They have several other cheeses available as well.

      1. re: Smores

        I forgot about Swiss Connection! Yes, I've had the Kase (not the Maybury, though). Hmmm, time to make a cheese tour of Indiana.

    2. I live in the Seattle-Tacoma area, so of course Beecher's is a well-known (and often-visited) local cheese producer.

      Another one I tried for the first time about a year ago is Mt. Townsend Creamery, located in Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. They have some soft cheeses that are nice, and I really liked their New Moon and Red Alder cheeses.

      This is a great challenge. There are a food number of WA state cheese producers located on my side of the mountains...I am going to make it a mission to try them all!

      6 Replies
      1. re: jlhinwa


        try Samish Bay cheese in Bow,Wa(exit 235? I think) off I-5,'s a working farm,organic,raise their own meats also.
        Just stopped yesterday on way home from Vancouver,BC and dropped an easy $150 on fresh and aged selection of cheeses and their own sausages.
        Good luck!

        1. re: grangie angie

          I bought BC cheeses on my last trip to Vancouver. The Tiger Blue was one of the best blue cheeses I've ever had.

          I'm going to try to find cheeses made in my county -- I'm currently not aware of any, although in my childhood we would visit a cheese factory in Pleasanton, which is in the south eastern part of my county. I wouldn't be surprised if there were cheesemakers again in that area.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I'll be really curious to see if you find any!

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              A quick search turned up these in Alameda and Contra Costa counties:

              Pacific Cheese in Hayward manufactures and wholesales cheese

              Belfiore in Berkeley

              Berkeley Farms makes cottage cheese

              Queso Salazar in Brentwood

              Then some other dairy producers that popped up, but not making cheese now.

              Challenge Dairy in Dublin makes butter, but no cheese afaik

              Pavel's Yogurt in San Leandro, but no cheese afaik

              Safeway processes fluid milk in San Leandro

          2. re: grangie angie

            Thank you for the recommendation! We will have to make the trip up there.

            I like this's going to be a lot of fun!

            We tried cheese curds for the first time two weeks ago while in Wisconsin. Mr.jlh loved them...of course it just so happens that Beecher's sells cheese curds in their Pike Place Market store. Tomorrow's family day outing is going to include a stop at Beecher's. we've been there a number of times but it never gets old for me.

        2. Great idea!
          As one who lives in France you might think I'd be spoiled for choice. The fact is that in my local area all I can get is chevre. Mind you I can get a wonderful variety of these wonderful cheeses.

          To get an array of the many other cheeses in France I have to go to a specialist cheese shop of my local Hypermarket. At lunch today we had: gaperon, cantal, Neufhatal & Forme de Aumbert.. Wonderful cheeses, but none them truly local.

          So, keep up the good work. When, if ever, we return to the states we'll have a valuable reference.

          1. Utah surprisingly has a few!
            Just up the road 20 minutes from me is Rockhill Creamery:

            Also: in Salt Lake City and in Tooele.

            2 Replies
            1. I live in Pasadena, CA (Los Angeles area), and we have Gioia Cheese for fresh burrata and other goodies:

              1 Reply
              1. re: ElsieDee

                Oh, man -- fresh, local burrata. Deeply envious.