Are you a fan of artisan cheese or specialty foods? Are you a traveler seeking an out of the ordinary travel itinerary? Are you in western North Carolina and looking for a fun way to spend a weekend? Do you prefer to shop local and support local, small business? Do you enjoy finding that perfect birthday or holiday gift that the recipient will never expect? If you answered yes to any of these questions or the ideas sound appealing, I strongly recommend a tour through the Western North Carolina Cheese Trail!
This unique grouping of artisan cheese makers came together in 2012 with the stated goal “To promote production and sale of WNC artisan cheese, facilitate consumer education, and encourage tourism to the region to benefit our members.” While we didn’t get to every stop on the trail, having visited several of these incredible artisans, I can highly recommend following the trail. The cheeses are varied and delicious and the cheese makers are friendly and passionate about what they do.
Many of the cheese makers listed below focus on goats milk in making their cheeses. A lot of people do not like goat cheese. Food & Wine magazine has put together a listing of common misconceptions and mistakes people make about goat cheese. I encourage you to read this brief article.
Th WNCCT volunteer organization does a tremendous job promoting their members and each year hosts the annual Carolina Mountain Cheese Festival, a gathering that draws more than thirty cheese and artisan food producers to a beautiful location, providing businesses and customers a chance to mingle, renew acquaintances, and seek out the finest in artisan cheese. Check the website linked above for future events.
So, without further ado, lets take a look at the WNC Cheese Trail. Below, you will find a map of the trail. I will follow along the numbered trail below providing you information on the name, address, website, and crucial information on each stop. You won’t be able to get to all of these in a day but this can help you plan out a trip and make the most of your time.
Western North Carolina Cheese Trail by Location
1. Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery 327 Flat Rock Road
Fairview, NC 28711
Using locally produced raw cow milk, BRMC produces a range of cave aged cheeses including blue, asiago, cheddar, pepper jack, and more. Victor, the owner, is known not just for his cheese making skill but also his glassblowing abilities. You can find Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery cheeses at local tailgate markets and in many restaurants.
2. English Farmstead 19456 US 221 North Marion, NC 28752
From our family cows to your table. Their Facebook page seems the best way to get information. I recommend calling or emailing for additional information, including hours. It looks like tours may be available but I wasn’t able to find a lot of detail.
3. Heritage Homestead Dairy 960 Roy Goodman Road Crumpler, North Carolina 28617
Since 1994 owners Carol and Lon Coulter have been raising several varieties of goats in order to produce their delicious cheeses that are found at local markets and retail establishments. Goats are milked eight months out of the year and bred in March and April, allowing for sustainable production. According to their website products range from chevre to feta to pimento. Other products include fudge , caramels, and pestos. Use their contact form to arrange for direct purchase.
4. Looking Glass Creamery 115 Harmon Dairy Lane Columbus, North Carolina 28722
Their mission, “We want to operate a diverse farm and share it with our guests to provide experience, enjoyment and education about farming and food production. We will make great cheese, preserves and cider within a full circle system that works in harmony with the land, people, and animals. Our farm will be financially sound, environmentally responsible, and agriculturally thriving.”
5. Round Mountain Creamery 2203 Old Fort Road Black Mountain, North Carolina 28711
Round Mountain Creamery began in 2002 by Linda Seligman and five goats. Today it is a thriving 28 acre goat dairy and farmstead. It was named the first Grade A certified goat dairy in North Carolina. The farm produces nine varieties of soft cheese in sweet, savory, and spicy combinations. Their cheeses are available at numerous local markets and at their own farm store. Tours of the farm are available and must be booked in advance. One hour walking tours cost $15 per person. See the website for details on booking this unique experience.
6. Spinning Spider Creamery 4717 East Fork Road Marshall, North Carolina 28753
Begun in 1999 as a goat dairy in response to cow milk allergies, Spinning Spider Creamery is a family farm with roots in 4-H and homeschooling their three sons. The family mission is to maintain a lifestyle that incorporates the cycles of the seasons with their love of our animals, their craft of cheese making and their family unity. The entire family participates in the operation of the creamery. The end result is a variety of handcrafted artisan cheeses brought to their fullest complexity of flavors through care and attention to detail in an old world style.
Their cheeses are available at farmers markets, local specialty stores and limited hours by appointment at the farm. At this time they offer no tours and limit on farm sales to appointment only. You may also keep up with them on their Facebook page.
Appears to be closed. Website is deactivated and social media have not been updated.
Vail, NC 28168
They treat their goats with homeopathic remedies and herbs to keep them healthy. The goats are fed with all-natural local hay that is not treated with sprays or other harmful chemicals. After the milk comes from the goats, they pasteurize it and make it into all the different flavors immediately. The sooner the milk is used, the fresher the cheese is. Their goat cheese is so smooth and creamy that even folks who say “I don’t like goat cheese” are delighted by the tastiness!
You may follow them on their Facebook page.
Choose CHEVOO for all your mail order gourmet goat cheese product. Click the link or the photo to learn more about their products and to place your order. All CHEVOO Marinated Goat Cheeses start with the highest quality goat cheese, hand-blended with herbs, spices, chilis, honey, or pollens and then pair them with an Extra Virgin Olive Oil blend that has been infused for 8 weeks with crushed botanicals. CHEVOO was founded in 2015 by Aussie expats Gerard & Susan Tuck. When they moved to the US they were inspired to create a new and unique range of Marinated Goat Cheeses that American foodies would love.
Recommended Farm Stops Along the Cheese Trail
14. FernCrest Winery
To Learn More or Become a Member of the WNC Cheese Trail
Are you super interested in the Western North Carolina Cheese Trail? If so, they invite you to become a member at one of the various levels, from cheese fan to principal member (this is the place for you if you are WNC cheese maker).
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