Dairyland Farmers Cheese
Eponymously named Chapel Hill Creamery is located near Chapel Hill in North Carolina and is home to Portia McKnight and Flo Hawley together with their small herd of Jersey cows.
Hawley and McKnight had each enjoyed long careers at Whole Foods Market and decided they wanted to get closer to the source of the food that they had sold. In the process of searching for a good milk source in order to begin making cheese, they found that they were unable to get the quality that they wanted. So, the decision was made to buy a small herd of Jersey cows and a 37-acre farm to ensure that the cows could be pasture-fed. Thus was born Chapel Hill Creamery and, in July of 2000, the first batch of cheese was produced.
Today, Portia and Flo focus on the health of their herd of 30 cows as much as the quality of the cheese that they produce. Rotational grazing is practiced on the farm and they limit milking to March through December. The results are hard to argue with, three World Jersey Cheese Awards in 2012.
Dairyland Farmer’s Cheese is a fresh loosely formed cheese made of pasteurized cow’s milk. It has a clean, lactic flavor with a touch of citrusy tang. The texture is silky and rich. The aroma is rich, a lot like freshly baked bread. Dairyland Farmer’s Cheese has the shape of the basket mold that the curds are placed in to drain.
With this simple cheese, the best pairing is with a simple, spritzy wine such as Vinho Verde. It can be served with honey or fruit preserves spread over warm bread, or used in Mexican food as an alternative to Queso Fresco.