What this is: A peek into farmstead cheeses and why they are great.
Who it's for: Cheese fans who like to know where their cheese comes from and who makes it.
There are three different parts to making cheese. The first is sourcing the milk, the second is turning the milk into cheese, and the third is the caring and aging of the cheese. Let’s look into these three parts.
Sourcing the Milk
All real cheese comes from real milk and that milk comes from animals on a farm. For retail, we are talking about a dairy farm. The Dairy Farmer may have 40 animals or hundreds. Most milk for cheese making comes from goats, sheep, cows, or water buffalo.
Making the Cheese
The Cheese Maker needs milk to make the cheese. The Cheese Maker could also be the Dairy Farmer, but if they're not, they could also get their milk from a nearby farm, a dairy co-op, or a collective.
Aging the Cheese
This is also called affinage and could last from hours to years! The Cheese Maker is also often the Affineur (Cheese Ager), but sometimes there is a separate person or company who only ages the cheese.
A Farmstead cheese is a cheese that is made and aged on the same property as where the milk comes from. This means the company selling the cheese takes care of the animals, creates magic with their milk, and then ages it and pampers the cheese until it’s ready to be sold. Cheese doesn’t have to be a Farmstead cheese to be delicious, but it is usually something special because the company has the ability to adjust everything from what the cows eat to how to make the cheese, to how it is aged. Having that kind of control gives you many different adjustments you can make to get the exact cheese you want to sell.
Farmstead cheese is cheese that is made and aged on the same property as the milk comes from.
Google "Farmstead cheese in <your state here>". Research one of the ones that comes up and see where you can try or buy some. If the location isn’t too far, see if there are any opportunities to visit the farm—sometimes you can even buy cheese directly from the farm! If there are no farmstead cheesemakers in your state, try looking in neighboring states and ordering online.
Click the icons to download a pdf of this lesson and our two handy guides: How Cheese is Made and Cheese and Pairing Types.