We’ve got great dairy farms producing fine, artisanal cheeses in this part of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Many of the farms listed below encourage you to come visit and see how they raise their animals and craft their cheeses. Add a winery or two and you’ve got a nice day trip.
Note: Most of these dairies make their cheeses from raw milk (not pasteurized or homogenized). They do this to preserve the nuances in the milk, which affect the flavor and complexity of the cheese, as well as the nutrients. By law, cheese made from raw milk must be aged at least 60 days. Fresh cheeses – ricotta, mozzarella – must be pasteurized.
Ely’s Farm Products
Well known for their meats, the Ely family also makes award-winning, artisanal cheeses from their own raw milk. Try all five kinds:
- Aldan’s Blessing: A trappist-style cheese made in the same way as the monasteries made cheese wheels for hundreds of years. Savory, Alpine cheese.
- Makefield: Savory and sophisticated, very lightly sweet. Made in much the same way as Gruyere cheese. Aged over 8 months.
- Washington Crossing: Sweet, creamy, full, hinting at Parmigiano.
- Ely Farm Cheese: Mild, smooth, Colby-style
- Rolling Green: Firm, mild, lightly nutty
401 Woodhill Road
Newtown, PA 18940
Store hours: Thursday & Friday, 9 am – 5 pm, Saturdays, 9 am – 2 pm
Just a few minutes from Ely’s is Birchwood Farm & Dairy, producing a variety of cheeses, including cheddar, garlic cheddar, Monterey Jack and Swiss.
Farmer Mike Tierney raises his herd of dairy cows on the pasture just behind the store. The cheeses are made from raw milk from grass-fed cows. The farm also sells its raw milk and other dairy products, grass-fed beef, pork, veal, bison and lamb, homemade super premium ice cream and other organic foods. Birchwood’s products are USDA certified organic.
This goat dairy, started in 2012 and run by Teri and Trish Jones, makes and sells fresh, french style, goat cheese (chevre), as well as a traditional style Feta, which is a slightly aged cheese, with a distinctively sharp taste.
Giggling Goat Dairy, although not certified organic, does not use pesticides or herbicides on their farm or fields. They also do not routinely use antibiotics on their animals unless they are sick.
Giggling Goat produces two forms of goat cheese. Hand-ladled, including plain, ‘herbes de Provence,’ and fresh garlic & peppercorn. Spreads/dips including sun-dried tomato and jalapeño, dried cranberry and feta.
This 28-acre preserved farm has over forty goats, four cows, two heifers, horses, chickens and a couple of pigs and sheep. It is a certified raw milk dairy and produces artisanal cheeses such as herbed chevre, cheddar, mozzarella and fromage blanc. Their butter is so yellow you can see the carotenes in it.
There’s also yogurt, smoothies, buttermilk, cream and milk from their goats and cows, as well as eggs from their chickens. (The milk is pasteurized to make the fresh cheeses, such as chevre and mozzarella. The cheddar is made from raw milk and aged more than 60 days.)
The goats and cows live on pasture and eat fresh grass most of the year, supplemented with hay and grain in the winter. No pesticides, herbicides, hormones or antibiotics are used. See the farm’s website for information on their products, educational programs and classes, including cheesemaking. You can buy product at the farm, online or at area seasonal farmers’ markets.
This Lawrenceville, NJ farm is well-known for its great variety of fresh and raw-milk cheeses handcrafted from grass-fed Jersey and Short Horn dairy cows, raised on organic certified pasture. You’ll often see their cheeses at some of the best restaurants in the area. They hold cheese-making classes too (see their website) and also sell their own pastured pork, pastured eggs and lamb.
This 5th generation owned and run farm offers fresh mozzarella, ricotta, string cheese and yogurt. You can order online and pick up at the farm, or find them at area farmers’ markets during the season. (Read our post about Fulper Farms here.)
281 Rocktown Lambertville Road
Lambertville, NJ 08530
Order online here and pick-up at the farm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays, 3 – 5 pm
Facebook: Fulper Family Farmstead LLC
Baudolino, Amram, Tower of Bobol, Drumm, Frolic and Jean-Louis – names that make my mouth water. Jonathan and Nina White make some of the best artisanal cheese around from their grass-fed cows, using only raw milk.
Visit the farm and get the grand tour, walking the pastures with Jonathan as your guide, as he explains everything from bovine genetics to what kind of grass the cows are eating and how it affects Bobolink’s cheeses.
You can also pick up some of Nina’s wonderful breads made in their wood-fired oven, their own grass-fed beef, whey-fed pork and other delicacies. Check out their cheese-making and baking workshops too. Bobolink sells at various farmers’ markets in New Jersey and at their farm. (Read our post about Bobolink: American Cheese: The good kind)
Using milk from over 700 sheep, goats and cows grazing on their 120 acres, Valley Shepherd Creamery makes a variety of handmade, cave-aged cheeses (in their underground cavern on site). They sell their products on the farm, online, in their Park Slope Brooklyn store and at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, where you can watch cheese being made too. Find them at area seasonal farmers’ markets also.
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