A Visit With A Local Cheese Maker

What does any cheesemonger do when they move to a new city (aside from visit the first cheese shop they can find)? Jump in the car and set off for the nearest dairy! That’s what we did this past August. Before opening up shop we wanted to meet some of the local cheese makers, so we headed north to Statesville to Holton Hollow Farm. Jeff Holton is a third generation dairy farmer, now retired. But he likes having cows around, so he keeps a few that he cares for as if they were pets. We didn’t get to meet the Jersey girls that day, it was too beautiful a day for the cows to be hanging around the barn. They had left for the creek minutes before we arrived and they would not, for all the calling by Jeff, come back to pay us a visit. In the off chance that the cows would listen to the call, we hung around the barn and talked cheese for the next hour or so while the boys ran around chasing the chickens with an occasional break, feeding one of the non-milkers some hay. Debbie is the cheese maker and she stopped by to open a wheel of cheese so we could finally taste the glorious milk in fermented form. The cheese is called Farmstead and Jeff doesn’t want to give it a fancy name or a place name, he just wants the cheese to speak for itself. And it does. The black waxed rind contrasts starkly with the golden paste. The paste might give you the impression that it looks like a mild Havarti-style but the aroma is buttery and so is the first taste but that gives way to a pleasantly sour and sharper finish. As we left, the cows were still happy grazing on grass and lolling around by the creek. And my boys were happily tucking into their chunks of Farmstead.

Post contributed by Rachel Klebaur, owner of Orman’s Cheese Shop.

“Meeting the cheese-makers and affineur’s gives me the assurance that I am selling only the highest quality products and that I am supporting small businesses, like myself.” - Rachel Klebaur