Owned and operated by the Green family for 4 generations, Winter Park Dairy was originally a citrus farm located on Lake Florence in central Florida. However, the frosts of the mid-1980’s destroyed many of the family’s citrus trees. The current generation of Greens, David and his wife, Dawn founded Winter Park Dairy in 2001 in an effort to keep the farm going. In the beginning, Winter Park had its own closed herd of Jersey cows. Now though, the milk for the dairy comes from local family dairies. In 2008, Winter Park became the first dairy to be licensed as a raw milk cheese-making facility by the USDA/State of Florida. The cheeses produced at Winter Park are all hand made. The process begins with a water-heated vat imported from Holland that gradually brings the milk up to 90° F, but no higher. Microbial rennet that the dairy imports from France is then added to the milk, and the mixture is hand-agitated. The curd is cut, hooped aged. All the cheeses are raw milk and are therefore aged for 60 days as required by US federal law. Bleu Sunshine was the first cheese produced by Winter Park Dairy. Created while David was taking cheesemaking classes at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont, it was named by Dr. Monserrat Almena-Aliste.
The cheese is aged for over 60 days, which provides the blue veining plenty of time to spread throughout the paste. It has a thin light brown rind with grey molds on the top. Underneath is a light yellow paste with a rich texture. It has a strong, assertive taste with prominent notes of blue.
This cheese is best when paired with traditional wines for blue cheeses including Port and Sauternes. Bleu Sunshine is a versatile cheese when it comes to food, it can be served with fresh fruit such as pears or it can be paired with chocolate. It works very well melted over steaks.