Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Essex County Cheese Tour: Sampling Adirondack Cheeses Straight From the Farm (Tour) I

I’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, Oct 11, three creameries have bonded together to once again host The Essex County NY Cheese Tour. The self-guided tours are open from 10 am – 4 pm with farm rambles, free samples and other entertainments.

The Essex County Cheese Tour
According to the Upper Jay Sugar House Creamery’s Alex Easton the Essex County Cheese 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 produces different products in different geographic areas of the Adirondacks, the tour will be a great way for people to meet the animals and sample various cheeses.

Map of The Essex County Cheese Tour 
Sugar House Farm milks their Swiss cows year-round in a cooler climate closer to the Adirondack High Peaks to produce their hard Alpine-style Dutch Knuckle cheese as well as other soft cheeses. 
Asgaard Farm in Au Sable Forks produces fresh chevre, feta, caramels and soft-ripened cheese with a gorgeous High Peaks backdrop as well as an interesting history. 

Clover Mead Farm in Keeseville is nestled in the fertile Champlain Valley and known for its fresh and aged cheeses and well as yogurt and raw milk.

According to Adirondack Harvest Coordinator Laurie Davis the Essex County Cheese Tour is an exciting way to help promote some of their membership.

"This is the second year for the Essex County Cheese Tour and we are so happy that it is going so strong," says Davis. "Every fall we used to ask farmers to open their doors for the day, but it wasn't a great turnout. Perhaps it's something to bring back with time. We would like to have other farmers promoted and we are working on that. We've discussed pairings such as a wine and cheese tour. This tour is specific to Essex County. We've been around for 15-20 years and have over 200 members throughout the whole North Country."

 © Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time™ guidebook series. Adirondack Family Time™guidebooks have easy, short Adirondack family hikes for ADK kids, parents, retired, seniors, dog-owners, Adirondack swimming holes, Lake Placid Olympic activities, Adirondack trivia, Adirondack horseback rides, Adirondack snowshoe family trails and more. Look for the Adirondack family guidebooks online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the next Adirondack Family Activities™ guide.

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