Thursday, September 30, 2010

On the Farm

The storms causing havoc up and down the East Coast have brought welcome rain, sighs of relief, and a renewed promise of a full season of cheesemaking at Meadow Creek. Our August 12th availability email talked about how well our pastures were doing to see us to mid-December for milking (and thus cheesemaking), then bam, we were hit with six weeks of no rain. Rick and Jim do grass walks every 7 to 10 days to monitor the growth and, if necessary, adjust the movement of cows from paddock to paddock to give more or less time between grazing the same paddock. Such a long dry spell, our second this year, had us looking at a shorter grazing and cheesemaking season - our cheese is made only when the cows are on grass. Thanks to Rick and Jim's careful management and rains just in time we should be back on schedule, as long as a few days of predicted warm sun come our way now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Meadow Creek Dairy wins!

The official press release:
Galax, Virginia (September 1, 2010) - Meadow Creek Dairy took two separate awards for their cheeses this year at the 27th Annual American Cheese Society Competition.

Their Appalachian took first place in the brand-new American Originals -- Original Recipe category, while Grayson was awarded third place in the Farmstead Cheeses category. This is Appalachian's second award, and the fourth year running that Grayson has placed in the competition, including an award for Second Best of Show in 2008.

The American Cheese Society is a trade organization representing cheesemakers from all over North America. This year's competition, held in Seattle, Washington, featured a record-breaking 1,462 cheeses from 225 cheesemakers. The Original Recipe category was created this year as a way to recognize cheeses which do not follow an established cheesemaking tradition. It was one of the most hotly contested categories at the competition, with cheeses tying for both second and third place.

“We’re very honored by this award,” says cheesemaker Helen Feete. “We’ve made Appalachian for twelve years now, and over that time we’ve taken elements from several different cheese styles, but we’ve avoided patterning it on one specific cheese.  Our goal has always been to make a cheese that showcases our milk and our mountainous terrain. Being labeled an American Original by this award makes us feel like we’ve reached that goal.”

Meadow Creek Dairy is a seasonal grass dairy located outside Galax, Virginia which specializes in aged raw milk cheeses. The Feete family (Helen, Rick, Kat, and Jim) established their dairy in 1988 and began making cheese in 1998. Besides Grayson and Appalachian they also make an alpine-style cheese called Mountaineer. For more information, visit their website at