Local Cheeseboard: Cheesemakers of Upstate New York | General Food & Drink | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Not all good cheese comes from France. New York has a a long history of dairy farming, and where there is milk, there is cheese. Though artisanal cheesemaking dropped off in the Hudson Valley in the 20th century, replaced by commercial operations, the  market hungry for small-batch, craft cheese has returned and along with it, a crop of creameries to meet the demand. These regional small-scale farms and creameries are providing the Hudson Valley with delicious, handmade, artisanal cheeses from local milk. Check out their farm stores, websites, and farmers market to get some of their creamy, nutty, firm, and sweet cheeses––and other delicacies like goat cheese yogurt, grass-fed beef, and goat milk fudge.

Columbia County Cheesemakers

McGrath Cheese Company | Hudson

The McGrath Cheese Company in Hudson makes hand-craft, small batch cheeses using milk from small, local dairy farms, including Brookby Farm. Founder Colin McGrath has created a line of cow and goat cheeses that have been nationally recognized more than a dozen times––including two Good Food Awards and first place in The New York State Fair Dairy Competition. Some of their delicious cheeses include The Rascal—a semi-firm, nutty, and mild cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk and aged for two to four months—and The Goliath—a farmhouse cheddar made from pasteurized cow’s milk and aged for three to five months. You can get their products at farmers markets, grocery stores, and provisions markets.

Old Chatham Creamery | Old Chatham

Old Chatham Creamery has been producing American versions of classic European cheeses and creamy sheep milk yogurt for 25 years with sheep husbandry techniques, advanced technology, and artisan cheesemakers. Check out The Flagship—a bundle of their classic award-winning cheeses with the Roquefort-style Ewe's Blue, the bloomy, sheep's milk Kinderhook, Hudson Valley Camembert, and the three-milk gouda Gorges for $84. Or try something fun and new with the Cheesemaker’s Choice––a package of their new three-milk Boujee Bleu cheese, Gorges Gouda, and two surprise cheeses selected by the head cheesemaker for $84. The Old Chatham Sheep Yogurt Purist is a bundle of six 16-ounce containers of probiotic-rich yogurt for $84.

Miracle Springs | Ancram

David Levine and Jaimie Cloud founded Miracle Springs in Ancram in 2014. Jaimie Cloud is also the founder and president of the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education––a program that works with school systems to develop curricula to educate students on ecology, economics, and environmental and social sustainability. Try their Peppercorn Chevre Log––an organic soft chevre covered in crushed tellicherry peppercorn, offering a tangy, earthy flavor with a peppery kick ($13.50). Other products include the Signal Rock––a semi-soft cheese with a distinct floral taste and a smooth, salty texture, their Camembert-style cheese; and the Roe Jan Reserve, a raw goat milk cheese aged for over two months. Order their products on their online store, where you can customize a cheese gift box, and at the weekly Millerton farmers’ market.

Hawthorne Valley | Ghent

Founded in 1972, Hawthorne Valley is an organic, biodynamic, nonprofit farm, creamery, and bakery with its own grocery store, Wardolf school, and summer camp in Ghent. The Hawthorne Valley Farm Store offers locally grown organic produce, fruit, and household products, as well as a deli with sandwiches, soups, salads, hot food, and locally-roasted coffee. The creamery turns out cheese and yogurt with milk from the farm’s grass-fed Brown Swiss cows. Check out their raw milk hard cheeses like the Raclette and the garlic and caraway Alpines, as well as their many soft cheeses like the Fern Hill and Luna cheeses. They also offer raw milk, whey ricotta, quark, buttermilk, packaged cheese curds, and two flavors of yogurt––plain and maple vanilla. Inside the farm store is their certified organic bakery with sourdoughs, yeasted breads, rolls, granolas, scones, muffins, cookies, and other baked goodies. Hawthorne Valley’s dairy products can also be found at Greenmarkets in Union Square and Inwood, as well as at the Hudson farmers’ market.

Dutchess County Cheesemakers

Chaseholm Farm | Pine Plains

Chaseholm Farm in Pines Plains is run by siblings Sarah and Rory Chase, who have been a part of the daily operations on their family farm since childhood. The farm practices holistic, sustainable agriculture, and was certified organic and 100 percent grass-fed in 2017. They create active soil microbiology that supports healthy plants by grazing their cows with no herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers. Their creamery is located on the farm, and produces small batches of artisanal cheese. Some of their fresh and aged cheeses are the triple cream Nimbus cheese, the Stella Vallis, a tomme-style raw milk cheese, and a classic nutty, buttery gruyere-style Alpage cheese. The farm also sells fresh raw milk bottled in glass from their grass-fed herd of Jersey and Holstein cows, rich in nutrients and butterfat. They also produce whole-milk yogurt with the help of the Hawthorne Valley Farm; pasteurized milk sold in shops and restaurants throughout the Hudson Valley and Brooklyn; grass-fed beef; and whey-fed pork. Get Chaseholm Farm products at their self-serve farm store, where you’ll also find treats like maple syrup, organic coffee, local honey, sauerkraut, Sparrowbush bread, and charcuterie.

Coach Farm | Pine Plains

Pine Plains artisanal creamery Coach Farms has been producing cheese and yogurt for over 30 years using farm-fresh goat milk. Their fresh, mild-tasting goat cheese products include plain, herb, and black pepper chevre logs, as well as fresh curd and goats milk ricotta. Their aged goat cheese options are slightly tangy with hints of mushroom and hay––and have a smooth and creamy texture. Try their Triple Cream goat cheese––a creamy, rich, and buttery cheese with a smooth texture and notes of citrus. Or check out a customer favorite––the Hudson Valley Truffle––a bloomy rind cheese with shaved truffles, truffle salt, and a rich fudge-like texture. Their Grade A goat’s milk yogurt has a thick and creamy texture, and is offered in plain, strawberry, vanilla, and honey. And check out Yo-Goat–––their new product that is a drinkable yogurt made with fresh goat milk and kid-friendly flavors like vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, and mango-peach.

Ulster County Cheesemakers

Acorn Hill | Kerhonkson

Acorn Hill Farm and Creamery in Kerhonkson was founded by Joyce Henion in 2007 with the humble goal of adding small-batch of cheeses to her existing line of goat milk soaps and fudges, but her creamery business quickly grew a large following. The cheese is made with milk from Henion’s Nubian dairy goats, which produce rich and creamy milk that changes flavor and texture slightly over the seasons. Acorn Hill’s small-batch artisanal cheeses and yogurt are produced weekly for ultimate freshness. Their aged cheeses are made in limited seasonal batches, and made with pasteurized and raw milk. Some of their products include the Drunken Goat—a wine-soaked gouda wheel, goat milk fudge, cajeta caramel sauce, a Greek-style feta, and an award-winning whole-milk ricotta. Their products can be ordered online for pick-up at the farm, at the Rosendale Farmers’ Market, Barthel’s Farm Stand in Ellenville, and at seasonal events like Basilica Farm & Flea.

Orange County

Edgwick Farm | Cornwall

Edgwick Farm in Cornwall is a micro-dairy and creamery owned by Dan and Talitha Jones. Try products like the Canterbury Soft Goat Cheese––light, creamy, and citrusy it is perfect to spread on a cracker or crumbled in a salad ($6-10). Some more of their goat cheese products include sharp aged cheddar, Greek-style feta, bloomy rind and tomme-style hard cheeses like the Funny Child––a nutty-tasting cheese washed for three weeks with a Maple Porter from Long Lot Farm Brewery and aged two years ($9). The farm also sells "Goatgurt,” a whole goat milk yogurt; farm-fresh eggs; and half-gallons of pasteurized plain and chocolate goat milk. Their products can be found at the weekly Pleasantville farmers’ market and other locations listed daily on their Facebook page.

5 Spoke Creamery | Goshen

The 5 Spoke Creamery in Goshen occupies a 110-year-old dance hall barn converted into a 100 percent solar-powered dairy farm that produces artisanal, Kosher, and small-batch cheeses with raw milk from their grass-fed Jersey cows. Some of their products include a mimolette-style cheese called The Harvest Moon––a rich, round, and bright orange cheese made from cheese molds sourced from France and aged in their underground cave for nine months. Check out their take on a French Tomme de Savoie, The Porter––a semi-hard wheel with a buttery taste and earthy aroma. Some other new cheeses in their cave are the Tumbleweed, Welsh Cheddar, Redmond Cheddar, Forager, Crawford, and Browning Gold. Enter your zip code on their site to find a retailer near you.

Rensselaer County

Four Fat Fowl | Stephentown

Four Fat Fowl began in 2013 with three siblings and has grown to have a large following for their handcrafted triple cream cheese made from their Jersey cow’s milk. Try their award-winning flagship cheese St. Stephen––a handcrafted, triple cream that is buttery-smooth with a bloomy rind that adds nutty undertones ($13). Or check out one of their new products like the Camembertha—a soft-ripened, bloomy rind with a milky taste. Another cheese they offer is the Inagada Ricotta––a protein-packed ricotta made in small-batches that is delicious paired with honey or maple syrup. You can find Four Fat Fowl products at their self-serve cooler on the farm, at Whole Foods locations, and many area restaurants.

R&G Cheesemakers | Troy

Troy-based R&G Cheesemakers has artisanal cheeses and yogurt from goat and cow milk sourced from farms in the Hudson and Hoosick valleys made by master cheesemaker Seas O”Connor. Try their Eclipse––a soft ash-ripened goats milk cheese that was featured at the 2010 and 2011 cheese board at the US Open. Or try the cow’s milk cheese Ballston Blue––a firm, crumbly cheese perfect for salads, sauces, and baking. Other products include the Rolatini—a cow’s milk mozzarella rolled with prosciutto; and the Trufflebert—and a camembert-style goat milk cheese with a layer of black Italian summer truffles. And don’t forget to check out their thick and creamy goat’s milk Greek-style yogurt. You can find R&G’s products at several farmers’ markets in the Hudson Valley, and restaurants and retailers all over New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

Garlic & Herb - This savory gem of fresh chevre is folded with garlic and savory herbs to pair well with most any savory dish or varietous cheese plate. Comes in 4 oz. logs.

Posted by R & G Cheese Makers on Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Warren County Cheesemakers

Nettle Meadow | Thurman

Nettle Meadow Farm and Sanctuary, founded in 1990 in Thurman, is run by Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan. They specialize in semi-aged cheeses made from organic goat, sheep, and cow milk. The Kunik––a triple creme wheel made from goat’s milk and cow cream––won second place at the 2019 US Cheese Championships as well as snagging a 2018 Good Foods Award. Another winning cheese of theirs is the Three Sisters––made from sheep, goat, and cows milk––which has a firm texture, bloomy rind, and unique taste in a 6-8 ounce crotin dimension. Other sheep milk cheeses they offer are the Simply Sheep and Penny’s Pride––a hard mold, ripened sheep and cow milk’s cheese. Check out the Fromage Frais––their newest artisan hand-packed cheese made from goat and cow’s milk, available in roasted red pepper, truffle, fig and honey, apple cider syrup, cranberry orange, habanero peach, pineapple cilantro, and eggnog. Nettle Meadow Cheese can be found at many retail and restaurant locations around the country.

Washington County Cheesemakers

Dancing Ewe | Granville

Dancing Ewe in Granville makes Tuscan-style cheeses from raw goat milk. Try their Dancing Ewe Caciotta, a simple, country cheese from central Italy made with cow’s milk available by the full, half-, or quarter-wheel. Or check out their sheep milk cheeses like the Pecorino al Tartufo––made with black truffles from Tuscany and available from May through December. Their classic ricotta, available from April through September, is 95 percent whey, five percent fresh, whole milk. Some of their other farm store products include extra virgin olive oil made from olives sourced in the Maremma region of Tuscany, salami, fruit preserves, and quality wines like the 2009 Barolo Riserva Vigna D’Vai––an earthy wine made with fruits and herbs, and then bottle aged for seven years ($90). The farm also has farm-to-table weekend dinners and lunches like the “Sugar on Snow” multi-course lunch which includes a bottle of wine, a caramelized, local maple syrup poured on packed snow, and a Tuscan-style greeting with the flute of Prosecco. Find their products at local farmers markets in Troy, Saratoga Springs, and Rhinebeck from May through October––and shop in their farm shop Fridays through Sundays.

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