Have a Little Cheese with that Wine!

The Hudson Valley has a wine trail, but did you know it has a cheese trail too? The Hudson Valley is truly a mecca for artisan foods, and while it has a booming winery and micro-brewery trade, it also has an abundance of the delicious products that pair so nicely with both wine and beer.

The art of cheese making has been around from before the dawn of recorded history, with no conclusive proof of where it originated, but it’s been proposed that it first started when sheep became domesticated around 8000 BC. As techniques and new ways to produce cheese has developed over the centuries, the flavors, the types of cheeses and the vast variety of different hard and soft cheeses available have come into production around the world. The Hudson Valley with its rolling verdant hills and pastures are the perfect place to sustain farming where sheep, cows and goats can produce cheeses ranging from melt in your mouth triple crème goat cheese to sharp tangy pecorinos.

Some farms are open to the public, while some have farm tours available, a few are closed to the public but have special open houses periodically throughout the year. Please check their websites and call for hours before visiting.

Casa Del Caciocavallo
10 Orchard Drive,  Gardiner, NY
Traditional Italian cheesemakers since 1965 that produce caciocavallo cheese, which is similar to mozzarella with a taste reminiscent of provolone. Cheeses are available in traditional, hot pepper, garlic, and black pepper varieties and have no artificial ingredients. Freddy and Cristina Destefano started the business in 2003, using Freddy’s mother’s recipe made from fresh Hudson Valley raw cow’s milk originally and expanded it into four flavors – traditional, hot pepper, black pepper and garlic which is hand-rolled and aged for 60 days. Their cheeses are available around the valley and they have a booth at most of the Hudson Valley’s area farmer’s markets.

Chasehom Farm Creamery
100 Chase Rd. Pine Plains NY
The Creamery is located on Chaseholm Farm which has been owned and still being run by generations of the Chase family. It was founded in 2007 by Rory Chase who retrofitted a barn his grandfather built in the early 30s to serve as a Cheesemaking Plant and Aging Cave. The Creamery is one of only a handful of farmstead companies in New York state producing cow’s milk cheese from their farm’s own dairy herd. They offer a range of fresh and aged cheese with Herbed Farmer’s Cheese, Queso Blanco, Camembert, Chaource Style, Stella Vallis Tomme, Alpine Style Alpage and Red Beard, which is a ripened cheese washed with hard apple cider.  Their cheeses can be found at the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market, Adams Fairacre Farms, Mother Earth Foods in Kingston, the High Falls Co-op and other area stores and farmer’s markets.

Coach Farm
105 Mill Hill Road, Gallatinville, NY
Miles and Lillian Cahn started Coach Farm in 1985, they are a traditional cheesemaker following the methods of the French farmstead cheesemaker. They produce both aged and fresh goat cheeses and have won multiple cheese competitions around the country. Many upscale/white tablecloth restaurants serve their cheeses, and it is one of the premium cheeses favored by the local Culinary Institute of America. Coach Farm names their cheeses after their shapes, with logs, wheels, sticks, cones and hearts with a variety of options included flavored and herb crusted. The farm itself doe not have scheduled tours, but they will give you a personal tour if you call in advance. Their cheese can be found in a large number of boutique markets and gourmet stores in the Hudson Valley and New England, a full list of places where their cheese can be found is at http://www.coachfarm.com/Contact/wheretobuy.html.

Hawthorne Valley Farm
327 County Route #21C, Ghent, NY
Hawthorne Valley Farm was one of the first dairies in the United States to be certified organic. The farm produces a variety of raw and pasteurized cheeses from a heard of over sixty dairy cows. Havarti, cheddar, gouda-style and Alpine cheeses are just a few examples of what the farm produces. They have a farm store, creamery and bakery and do public tours of facility by appointment, tours are approximately 50 minutes long. Reservations are required with at least one week’s notice. There is no charge for  tours, donations are requested to help support place-based education programs.

Nettle Meadow Farm’s
484 S. Johnsburg Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885
Nettle Meadow makes a variety of Artisan cheese, primarily with goat milk and sheep milk. It is owned and operated by Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan. The farm was founded in 1990 and is the home to over 300 goats, scores of sheep and a variety of farm sanctuary animals. Their sheep milk cheeses include the award winning Three Sisters made from sheep, goat and cow milk, Simply Sheep, made from all sheep’s milk, and Penny’s Pride, a hard mold ripened sheep and cow milk combination.  They also offer a wide selection of goat cheese chevres and fromage blancs and are always expanding their cheese offerings. The farm is open daily for cheese sales and does offer tours, please call in advance.

Old Chatham Sheepherding Company
55 Shaker Museum Road
Old Chatham, New York
Old Chatham Sheepherding Company was started in 1993 when Tom and Nancy Clark bought 600 acres in Old Chatham, New York to form a sheep dairy farm. Their Old Chatham’s Camembert, Ewe’s Blue, Kinderhook Creek and sheep’s milk yogurts have won numerous awards and appear on upscale restaurants and offered at specialty food stores throughout the country. Dave and Sally Galton purchased Old Chatham Sheepherding Company from Tom and Nancy in December of 2014 and continue to produce Old Chatham’s original line of artisanal cheeses and sheep’s milk yogurts that the original owners produced.

Sprout Creek Farm
34 Lauer Road | Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
845-485-8438 Office | 845-485-9885 Market
Sprout Creek Farm was originally founded by Sister Margot Morris and the Society of the Sacred Heart, but is now an independent non-profit. Their cheeses come from their herd of grass-fed Jersey, Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorn, Normande and Holstein cows and their Nubian, Toggenburg and Oberhasli goats. The farm itself spans 200 acres and also has a market on the farm itself, producing in addition to cheese, farm produced meat, vegetables and other edible and gift items. It also doubles as an education center, offering youth program throughout the year to help the younger generation be more aware of the land, agriculture and nature. They are open daily to visitors.

The Hudson Valley also has a wonderful selection of gourmet stores and markets. Here are few that are cheese focused and offer a large variety of cheeses from with the region and without.

The Big Cheese
402 Main Street, Rosendal, NY
Owned by Lisa and Yuval Stere, this little gem has hundreds of cheeses to choose from from all over the world. It has a café in the front offering dining, a deli, a variety of ethnic foods and also have second hand store tucked into the back to browse.

Cheese Louise
940 Route 28, Kingston, NY
Opened in 2010, Cheese Louise specializes in domestic and imported cheeses, charcutier and other gourmet products. Owners Rick Regan and Sam McDevitt have a relationship with an exclusive importer of French cheeses and Cheese Louise stocks some hard-to-find select cheeses from small-production farms.

The Cheese Plate
10 Main Street, #302, New Paltz, NY
They have between 60-80 cheeses in their cases and they come from all over the world as well as locally from the Hudson Valley! Cheese is cut to order and tasting is encouraged. They also offer a large selection of other gourmet items for cheese accompaniment including crackers, jams and chutney, fresh bread, pickles and olives.

Honorable Mention:
Adams Fairacre Farms
The Hudson Valley’s “super farm market with four locations in Kingston/Lake Katrine, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh and Wappinger. The original store grew up out a farm founded by Ralph A. and Mary Rogers Adams in 1919. Adam’s offers a large selection of cheeses including many from area farms.  To find out more about the various cheeses they carry, please visit https://adamsfarms.com/department/cheese-coffee/

1560 Ulster Avenue, Lake Katrine, NY  845-336-6300
765 Dutchess Turnpike, Poughkeepsie, NY  845-454-4330
1240 Route 300, Newburgh, NY  845-569-0303
60 Old Post Road, Wappinger, NY  845-632-9955

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