It's almost hard to believe that 35 years ago American Artisan Cheesemakers had not yet come onto the scene. Goat's Cheese was a French phenomenon. Artisanal and Farmstead Cheese were unfamiliar words. Wow, have things changed for the better!
I've put together a fairly comprehensive index of about 54 of our Top American Artisan Cheesemakers. Feel free to print it out, mark it up, circle your favorites and be sure to ask your local cheese shop to stock the specialty cheeses you want. Enjoy!
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
1600 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101
New York Location opened June, 2011
900 Broadway (at 20th St.)
New York, NY 10003
Cheeses: Cow's Milk
Clothbound Flagship Reserve Cheese - similar to both an aged Farmstead Gouda and a Farmhouse Cheddar in the true English tradition. Cloth-bound, open air aged, concentrated rich, nutty flavor.
No Woman - Jack cheese with Jamaican spices. A touch of brown sugar and clove flavor.
Marco Polo - Cheese flavored with Madagascan black and green peppercorns.
Cheesemaker is Brad Sinko. Part of their credo is ... "Yesterday, this cheese was grass." One of few artisan cheesemakers still practicing art of open vat cheesemaking (a centuries-old tradition). At both the Seattle and New York locations you can view the cheesemaking process. Both locations have shops and cafés.
Beehive Cheese Co.
Tim Welsh and Pat Ford
2440 East 6600 South #8
Uintah, Utah 84405
Cheeses: Handcrafted Cheeses since 2005, made with only rich, Jersey cow milk.
Barely Buzzed is rubbed with crushed lavender and exotic ground coffee. It won Top Prize at 2011 American Cheese Society Competition!
Beehive - Full Moon Cheddar (first made one night during a full moon!)
Uintah Jack cheese
Emigrant - a cross between Chedda and Parmesan.
SeaHive - hand-rubbed with Beehive wildflower honey and local Redmond Salt.
Squeaky Bee - Cheese curds - little bites of cheese curds combined with fresh local ingredients like dill, rosemary, habanero peppers.
"Visitors to Beehive Cheese can experience first-hand the art of cheese making through tours led by the owners. If you catch them at just the right moment, you may get to hear opera while watching Tim stir the milk after the bacteria and rennet are added (he’s fond of listening to music during this stage.) Or you may catch the hands-on work of “cheddaring” or if you come at the end of the game, you may get to taste some salted cheese curds still warm from the vat. You can also browse the cozy little shop attached to the operation to sample each cheese and choose from cheese gift baskets and even Beehive wildflower honey to pair with your favorite tastes." (Quoted from their website.)
Bel Gioioso Auricchio Cheese, Inc.
5810 Highway NN
Denmark, WI 54208
Family began cheesemaking in Italy in 1877. Now they are world's largest producer of Provolone. They began cheesemaking operations in Wisconsin in 1979. Their aged Provolone is a first prize winner in its category and their Belgioioso Gorgonzola has been a best in class prize winner. Their Aurrichio Parmesan even won top prize in Europe!
Liam and Diana Callahan
Cheeses: Farmstead, Cow, Sheep
Carmody Reserve - From raw Jersey cow milk. Semi-firm, young cheese, mild and creamy.
Crescenza - From pasteurized Jersey cow milk. Fresh, aged 1 week. Produced in 1" thick squares weighing 2-3 lbs.
San Andreas - Pressed cheese from raw sheep's milk. Semi-firm, aged 60 days.
Pepato - Pressed cheese from raw sheep's milk. Same as San Andreas, but withe whole peppercorns.
Farm is not open to public. This is a family owned Artisan Creamery.
Berkshire Blue Cheese Makers
Ira Grable, Cheesemaker
P.O. Box 35
Dalton, MA 01227
Berkshire Blue - Award winning Blue, makers say outshines a Stilton. Aged 60 days therefore no rind, all edible. Moist and creamy.
Handmade, all natural cheese from whole, unpasteurized Jersey cow
milk. Interesting trivia fact: Jersey cows have the highest IQ of all
cows!. Any farmer with a mixed herd of cows can tell
you that when the cows escape for greener pastures, the Jersey usually
leads the herd! (credit: Berkshire Blue website FAQ)
Cabot Creamery Cooperative
Cabot, VT 05647
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar - In the English tradition.
Other Cheddars: Sharp, Extra Sharp, Vintage Choice (2 year specialty aged.)
Many other American favorites.
Largest dairy coop in N.E. with 2100 farm families. 65 yrs in production. Cabot Creamery is a 1,200 farm family dairy cooperative with members in New England and upstate New York. Cabot enjoys a 65 year history and is in fact the largest dairy coop in the N.E.
Explore the World of American Artisanal Cheesemaking
From sea to shining sea, America is host to a large and ever- growing Gourmet Cheese movement. Investigate all the American Artisan Cheeses yourself with these books. Click on any image to to place your order! - G.C.D.
Judy Schad, Cheesemaker
P.O. Box 117
Greenville, IN 47124
Cheeses: Farmstead goat cheeses made by hand. Fresh, aged, surface-ripened.
Fromage à Trois - A torta with layers of chèvre,
basil pesto, toasted pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. Jointly created
with Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove Goat Cheeses in California.
O'Banon - First introduced in 1988 as one of the first goat cheeses made in America, wrapped in chestnut leaves, soaked in bourbon. A creamy, dense cheese with a kick! Multiple award winner!
Mont St. Francis - A semi-hard, washed-rind "stinky" cheese. Intense and hearty. Aged 4-8 mos. Not for the faint of heart! Similar to Livarot. One of their customers described this cheese as "a cheese you would not want to eat on the first date, but maybe on the 2nd if the first one went well!"
Old Kentucky - Aged, raw milk cheese has characteristics of a Tomme du Savoie or an American Jack. Aged version has brie-like texture. Buttery, rich.
Crocodile Tear - A bloomy-rind, exquisite, small 3 oz. teardrop of a cheese dusted with paprika. Best eaten, young. Creamy, yet firm.
Wabash Cannonball - Small ball of creamy goat cheese. Can be eaten young and fresh, or more aged at 3-5 weeks. A perennial favorite and prize winner.
Judy Schad, along with Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove, Paula Lambert
of the Mozzarella Co. and Allison Hooper of Vermont Butter and Cheese,
were the first women, back in the 1980s, to launch the artisan
cheesemaking movement. Since then the artisan cheese industry has
exploded! Kudos to all of them!! Judy has been
cheesemaker/co-owner of Capriole Farms in southern Indiana, making
farmstead cheeses and managing her herd of 500 goats for over 25 years.
On her 80 acre farm, Judy has developed a special profile of
Capriole goat cheeses. In her own words, "We have, in
this place, created our own little terroir. The catchwords
"sustainable", "natural," "humane animal care","free-farmed", and
"artisan" were the realities on which
we began our farm and ones we continue to live daily. The end result is a
cheese that is distinctively ours- not just in appearance but in the
more relevant criterion of taste."
Cato Corner Farm
Elizabeth MacAlister and Mark Gillman (mother and son)
178 Cato Corner Rd.
Colchester CT 06415
Cheeses: Raw cow milk
Bridgid's Abbey - Trappist-style monastery cheese with rich, mild taste. Aged 2 - 3 months.
Bloomsday - Named for Joyce's Ulysses, a dry textured, nutty flavor cheese. Aged 6 mos.
Aged Bloomsday - Classic aged cheese (10-12 mos.)
Dairyere - Award Winner! Third Place in the American Cheese Society's farmstead cheese category, 2010. A firm washed-rind cheese similar to Gruyère or Comté. Aged 8 - 12 mos., medium sharp, nutty and slightly pungent after taste.
Hooligan - Award Winner! Their signature "stinky" cheese that many cheese lovers consider their best variety. A ripe washed-rind cheese with soft, creamy paste and orange rind marked with basket lines. Aged 2 mos.
Despearado Hooligan - Washed-rind, bathed with fermented pear mash and Pear William eau de vie. Stronger and riper than their traditional Hooligan with a hint of pear on the aftertaste.
Drunken Hooligan - Washed with grape must and young red wine. Ripe and fruity, very distinctive.
Drunk Monk Hooligan - Rubbed in brown ale, pungent and ripe.
Dutch Farmstead - A variation on Gouda, creamy, mild with a slight nutty undertone and a rich, well-balanced flavor.
Womanchego - Inspired by the classic Spanish sheep milk cheese Manchego, this cow's milk Womanchego is aged 3-4 mos. Flavor is fairly mild and a bit sweet with hints of fruit and nut.
Black Ledge Blue - Natural rind blue, yellow color in speckled with blue veins. Moderately creamy, medium strong with a rich, slightly earthy finish.
Jeremy River Cheddar - English-style cheese with a natural rind, medium sharp and nutty with a slight taste of apple. Aged 8+ mos. Limited availability.
Myfanwy - Based on an 1830's Welsh recipe, Myfanwy is milky, medium mild - like a Gloucester/Cheshire cross. Aged 3-4 mos.
Cheeses are sold onsite Saturdays and Sundays in their Cheese Room Store
'All of their cheese is made by hand with raw milk from their 40 free-ranging Jersey cows on their small Connecticut farm. Growth hormones, sub-therapeutic antibiotics or animal-based feeds are never used; their cows graze freely so that they have happy lives with a rich diet of fresh pasture grasses. All the cheese rinds are natural with natural surface molds, integral to developing the full flavor of the cheese. Cheese is aged in their underground cave, ripening all varieties to their peak of flavor.' (paraphrased from their website.)
Miles, Lillian and Susan Cahn
Mark Newbold, Cheesemaker
105 Mill Hill Road
Pine Plains, NY 12567
Cheeses: Fresh and Aged Goat's Milk. These are real Artisanal, Farmstead cheeses.
Varieties of fresh goat cheeses made into logs, discs and medallions. Flavored varieties too.
Aged goat cheeses made into cylinders, hearts, pyramids and cones.
The Cahns have a big herd of 900 French alpine goats. It's the
largest goat farm and creamery in U.S.. Americans have typically
preferred fresh goat cheeses to the more aged varieties - à la Française
- chèvres. But Coach's aged goat cheeses are not ripened to a dry,
crumbly texture; they are meant to be moist and flaky. Note:
the Cahn family were the founders of the Coach handbag company, and we
all know how wonderful those leather bags are! So it is no surprise that
when they retired from running the Coach Co., and went into artisanal
cheesemaking, that this Farm and its products quickly became a huge
Cobb Hill Cheese
5 Linden Rd
Hartland, VT 05048
Cheeses: Vermont Farmstead Artisan Cheese, made from raw milk of Jersey Cows
Ascutney Mountain - Alpine-style natural rind cheese, developed from a Swiss
Appenzeller recipe. Sweet nutty flavor, aged 7-8 mos.
Four Corners Caerphilly - Based on a Welsh Caerphilly cheddar recipe. Natural rind, aged 2 1/2-4 mos. Buttery and tangy.
Cheesemaking began at Cobb Hill in 2000. Cobb Hill Cheese is made
with raw whole milk from the farm’s small herd of grass-fed Jersey
cows. They farm without chemical fertilizers, feeds or additives.
Partners in Cobb Hill Cheese live at Cobb Hill
Cohousing, an intentional community on 270 acres in Hartland, Vermont.
Cobb Hill Cheese is sold onsite and regionally at farmers' markets as well as at specialty shops throughout the Northeast.
Consider Bardwell Farm
Peter Dixon, Master Cheesemaker
1333 Vermont Route 153
West Pawlet, VT 05775
Cheeses: Handmade, Artisan Cheeses from cow's milk and goat's milk
Dorset - Washed-rind, similar to a French Tomme de Savoie,
moist and buttery, made from Jersey cow milk.
Manchester - Washed-rind, aged goat's milk cheese. A mountain cheese, rustic, salty, smooth and butter.
Mettowee - Fresh goat's milk chèvre.
Pawlet - Raw Jersey cow milk Italian-style toma, aged 4-6 mos.
Rupert - Aged, raw Jersey cow milk cheese, inspired by Alpine cheeses like Gruyère and Comté. Aged 6+ mos, sharp and complex flavor.
Chester - Bloomy-rind raw cow milk cheese, soft, pungent.
Equinox - Extra-aged, raw goat milk cheese, similar to Piave or Asiago. Aged 8-12 mos.
"300-acre Consider Bardwell Farm was the first cheese-making co-op in Vermont,
founded in 1864 by Consider Stebbins Bardwell himself. A century later,
Angela Miller, Russell Glover, Chris Gray, and master cheesemaker Peter Dixon,
are revitalizing the tradition with goat's milk from their herd of 100 Oberhaslis
goats, and cow's milk from Lisa Kaimen's herd of 30 Jerseys. Rotational grazing on
pesticide-free and fertilizer-free pastures produces the sweetest milk and
the tastiest cheese. Their cheeses are made by hand in small batches from whole,
fresh milk that is antibiotic and hormone free. Only microbial (non-animal)
rennet is used in their cheese making and all cheeses are aged on the farm." (quoted from their website.)
Peggy Smith and Sue Conley
419 1st Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
2nd Creamery Location
80 4th Street(in the Tomales Bay Foods Bldg.)
Point Reyes, CA
Cheeses: Organic Artisanal cow's milk cheeses
Red Hawk - Washed-rind, semisoft triple crème
cheese made from organic cow's milk. Aged 4 weeks, dark orange rind.
Multiple Award Winner!
St. Pat - "Seasonal springtime cheese, made with whole organic milk, wrapped with stinging nettle leaves. Do not fear the nettles, since they are frozen to remove the sting before they are wrapped around the cheese. Distinctive green rind, aged 3 three weeks, mellow, soft, and full of flavor. Nettle leaves lend a smoky, artichoke flavor." (quoted from website.) Multiple Award Winner!
Pierce Pt. - Fall/Winter seasonal washed-rind cheese made from organic whole milk, washed in muscato wine and rolled in dried herbs. Semi-firm, creamy and complex.
Other cheeses include:
Clabbered Cottage Cheese
Guided tours, demonstrations available at both locations. $30 per person. Children under 12 should visit Point Reyes, since only adults allowed on tour at the Petaluma location. Cheese making classes and tastings available at Point Reyes location. Book tours online at their website.
"In 1997, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith opened Cowgirl Creamery in Pt. Reyes Station, a picturesque postage-stamp-of-a-town on the coast about an hour north of San Francisco. Today, Cowgirl Creamery continues to make just a small collection of cheese -- four soft-aged and three fresh, totaling about 3,000 pounds per week." (quoted from their website.)
Crowley Cheese Co.
Healdville, VT 05758
Cheeses: Handmade from raw cow's milk, using hand tools and traditional methods
Crowley Cheese - Cloth-bound wheels often compared to a cheddar “without the bite.”
Factory tours available.
This is oldest cheesemaking facility in the U.S., founded in
1882. But Crowley cheese has been made, using the same recipe since
1824! All natural, with no additives or preservatives.
Laura Chenel Chèvre
22085 Carneros Vineyard Way
Sonoma, CA 95476
Aged Goat Cheeses include:
Cabecou - Button-shaped, marinated with herbs and California extra virgin olive oil.
Crottin - Classic small round with white surface bloom.
Taupinière - A mound-shaped cheese with white surface bloom topping an ash coating.
Tome - A firm, ivory-colored, hand-formed wheel, aged six months.
Fresh Goat cheeses include:
Chef's Chèvre - Fresh, creamy chèvre packed in tubs.
Logs - Fresh chèvre in different sized log shapes.
Chabiss - Traditional “pillow” shape, in plain, herb, dill or black pepper.
Blossom - Fresh, heart-shaped.
In 2006 Laura Chenel sold her goat cheese company to the Rians Group, (the French Artisan Cheese Co.), but she has kept her 500 goats at her farm in Sonoma, Calif, continues to sell her goat milk to Rians, and her longtime employees still make the famous cheeses. Laura was part of the original, pioneer group of American women who turned America on to the wonders of goat cheese. We owe her tremendous thanks for her vision and commitment.
Cypress Grove Chèvre
Mary Keehn, Cheesemaker
4600 Dows Prairie Road
McKinleyville, CA 95521
Cheeses: Handcrafted fresh and aged goat's milk cheeses
Ripened Cheeses include:
Humboldt Fog - Signature goat's milk cheese, multiple Award Winner! Soft, surface ripened cheese with creamy texture, tangy flavor. distinctive ribbon of edible vegetable ash in the center of each cheese.
Bermuda Triangle - Soft, double-rinded with ash and surface ripening, mild flavor, creamy texture.
Fresh Cheeses include:
Purple Haze - Goat cheese with lavender and wild fennel pollen.
PsycheDillic - Goat cheese with fragrant dill pollen.
Since 1983 Mary Keehn has made the highest quality, best-tasting
artisanal goat cheeses. She was one of the pioneering American women
cheesemakers who introduced America to delicately flavored goat cheeses.
Now Cypress Grove is a leader in the domestic goat
cheese market and her cheeses are multiple Award Winners!
Estrella Family Creamery
659 Wynoochee Valley Road
Cheeses: Wide variety of handcrafted, artisanal, organic cheeses from raw cow's milk and raw goat's milk
Black Creek Buttery - Old world-style Cheddar from raw cow's milk, either cloth-wrapped or natural rind.
Guapier - Similar to a French Morbier, with charcoal line in middle, separating the two halves, one-half made from evening milking and one-half made from morning milking.
Grisdale Goat - Semi-soft, natural rind goat cheese, with a mushroom cap shape.
Red Daria - Trappist style, washed-rind cow's milk cheese.
Reposée - Bloomy-rind, semi-soft cheese with layer of rosemary, bay leaves and juniper berries.
Weebles - Similar to a European Provolone, shaped like a pear, smoked and aged 4 mos. Award Winner!
Wynochee River Blue - Rustic, natural rind Blue cheese made with raw cow's milk, aged 2 mos.
Small Artisan Cheesemakers who really know what they are doing. The terroir reflects strongly in their cheeses and many others! Their cheeses are multiple Award Winners!
Fiscalini Cheese Co.
Marino Gonzalez, Master Cheesemaker
7231 Covert Road
Modesto CA 95358
Cheeses: Handmade, Farmstead raw cow milk cheeses
Fiscalini Clothbound Cheddar - Won Best Extra
Mature Traditional Cheddar in the World at the 2007 World Cheese Awards
in London. Old fashioned cheddar, with crunchy crystals
throughout. Aged 2 yrs.
San Joaquin Gold - Similar to a Fontina, but better. Buttery, nutty, crunchy crystalline texture. Aged 16 mos.
Lionza - Traditional cheese made by the Fiscalini Family for over 300 years in Swiss Alps - now made in California. Buttery, fruity, a 'mountain swiss cheese'. Aged 6 mos.
Other Cheddar varieties available.
"Handmade in the style of the best old-fashioned raw-milk cheeses
produced in Europe. Produced from their own contented cows, and aged in
their special aging rooms, then watched over by their master
cheesemaker Marino Gonzalez. Mariano's passion is to make cloth-bound cheddar
in the rich tradition of the United Kingdom. Each wheel is a labor of
love, delicately made by hand in open vats, where the talented
and experience determine the outcome of the final product. All of
their cheeses are produced on their almost 100 year-old family-owned
dairy farm, and they produce the electricity to run the entire farm with
an anaerobic digester which produces methane as a fuel, from cow manure
and other waste products." (excerpted
from their website.)
Janice and Larry Neilson
28580 Pleasant Valley Rd.
Sweet Home, Oregon 97386
Cheeses: Organic goat milk cheese
Fresh Chèvre - Various flavors and varieties.
Farm House - Fresh‚ hearty goat cheese with body. Several flavored varieties.
Goatzarella - A Mozzarella style goat cheese.
Feta - Greek style, aged 2 + months in salt brine.
Cheddar - Aged‚ raw milk goat cheese made in winter.
Tours available. Please call in advance.
Husband and wife team, producing organic goat cheeses since 1993 from the milk of their herd of 60 Alpine and Nubian goats. "We believe it all begins with the goats. Content‚ healthy‚ well-respected animals produce superior milk. You can taste it in the cheese!" (excerpted from their website.)
Fromageris Belle Chèvre
Tasia Malakasis, Cheesemaker
26910 Bethel Road
Elkmont, AL 35620
Cheeses: Artisan goat cheeses with mild flavor, distinctive textures
Chèvre de Provence
Greek Kiss Grape-Leaved Goat Cheese Discs
Montrachet-style Goat Cheese
Marinated Goat Cheeses
Creamy Chèvre Breakfast Cheeses
Belle Chèvre offers scheduled tours every Wednesday for small groups. Tours can be booked by calling the creamery.Handcrafted French-style goat cheeses since 1989. This small creamery has won over 50 national awards! Experts rate these cheeses as the equal of any goat cheeses made in Provence or the Loire Valley. The terroir is strongly reflected in their cheeses.