Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Essex County Cheese Tour Offers Local Dairy Treats

asgaardfarm_newI’ve made my own yogurt for years and recently started experimenting with fermented food. I’m now struggling to produce Kefir without a grainy taste.

I just can’t seem to get the balance right. With a cupboard full of sourdough starter and ginger beer plant grains, my pantry looks like a science experiment.

With everything else bubbling and brewing, the one product I have no desire to make is cheese.

With the amount of dairy my family consumes, making cheese might require an actual cow and we don’t have the space. I’d rather keep things simple and get my beautiful artisan cheese from local Adirondack farms. This Sunday, October 12th, three creameries have come together with Adirondack Harvest to host the first annual Essex County NY Cheese Tour. The self-guided tours are open from 10 am – 4 pm with farm rambles, free samples and other entertainments.

According to the Upper Jay Sugar House Creamery’s Alex Easton, this year’s tour was inspired by the popular Washington County Cheese tour that was attended by Asgaard Farm owner Rhoda Butler. Since each of the three creameries produce different products in different geographic areas of the Adirondacks, the tour will be fun way for people to meet the animals and sample their cheeses.

“It is an exciting time of year to come to the farm,” says Easton. “This is a great opportunity for people to see how the cheese is made. The farm is where the cows eat the grasses that help produce the milk. This is where we make the cheese, age it and sell it. We want people to walk around and see our small local farms.”

Sugar House Farm milks 10 Brown Swiss cows year-round to produce their hard Alpine-style Dutch Knuckle cheese as well as soft cheeses. Asgaard Farm’s fresh chevre, feta, and soft-ripened cheese are produced from their herds of goats. Clover Mead Farm in Keeseville is known for its fresh and aged cheeses and well as yogurt and raw milk.

“None of us are making the same product or have the same view. Our creamery [Sugar House Creamery] is in a cooler area and close to the High Peaks,” says Eaton, “Asgaard has beautiful views of the mountains while Clover Mead is in the nice fertile Champlain Valley.”

Photo of Asgaard Farm is used with the permission of Diane Chase,

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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

One Response

  1. Jim S. says:

    Every day is a good day for cheese. Give me a choice of cheeses and I’ll edam all!

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