May is American Cheese Month! To celebrate, we’re sharing spotlights on a few of the U.S.A.’s top cheese makers of the moment. These American artisans represent a diverse array of backgrounds and cheese styles, each putting their own unique touch on America’s cheese legacy.
Barn First Creamery – Westfield, Vermont
This farmstead goat operation is a “new-tradition” creamery founded by husband and wife team Merlin Backus and Rebecca Velazquez in 2013. Home to a herd of 40 milking goats, the farm relies on Rebecca’s self-taught cheesemaking skills and Merlin’s goatherding and milking capabilities to create a line of original goat’s milk cheeses like Quinby, an intensely creamy Brie-style round that has notes of fresh milk and a light mineral essence, with a touch of traditional goat’s milk tang.
Sequatchie Cove Creamery – Sequatchie, Tennessee
Founded in 2003, this family-run operation headed by Nathan and Padgett Arnold is dedicated to creating farmstead cheeses “using time-honored European traditions with a distinctly Southern flair.” Each of their cheeses provides a true taste of place, giving a nod to Tennessee’s lush valleys and mountains with original creations such as Shakerag Blue, a blue cheese wrapped in Chattanooga whiskey-soaked fig leaves, and Walden, a buttery soft-ripened French style cheese that boasts complex woodsy notes.
Tulip Tree Creamery – Indianapolis, Indiana
Co-owners Fons Smits and Laura Davenport each brought their own unique cheese backgrounds when they founded Tulip Tree in 2014. Fons, who is originally from the Netherlands, brings a long history of cheesemaking expertise while Laura brings experience in the public health and biology sectors. Together with their team, they create original cheeses based on traditional European recipes with a flavorful twist like Snapdragon, a rich triple cream that’s stuffed with a spicy layer of habanero peppers, or Foxglove, a fruity, funky take on traditional Epoisses.
Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. – Point Reyes Station, California
What originated as a small family-run dairy of Italian immigrants in Northern California during the 20th century has transformed into a renowned women-owned farmstead cheese operation founded in 2000. The Giacomini family created Point Reyes with the idea of imbuing their cheese with the fresh taste of the coastline–the ocean air and native grasses–while developing a model for sustainable agriculture. Their first cheese, Original Blue, a milky and peppery crowd-pleaser, became a jumping off point for later variations and even new creations like Murray’s own Cave Aged Limited Finocchietto Blue.
Westfield Farm – Hubbardston, Massachusetts
Since 1971, Westfield Farm has been a hub for award-winning, hand-crafted farmstead cheese. Known for their different varieties of chevre, this mostly goat cheese operation has a 20-acre farm in central Massachusetts that produces about 1500 pounds of cheese per week, which in turn is made into simple and delicious creations like their Herb Garlic Capri, an herbaceous take on their original award winner, the simple Capri goat log.
The Farm at Doe Run – Unionville, Pennsylvania
Rooted in the philosophy of sustainable farming, this Pennsylvania operation is known for its award-winning cheeses, fresh microgreens and veggies; as well as a dedication to land stewardship and a focus on seasonal harvesting and rotational grazing practices. Get a taste of why people can’t get enough of Doe Run with their Seven Sisters, a Gouda-style cheese that’s sweet and snackable with notes of caramel, or St. Malachi, a crunchy award-winner that’s packed with flavors of brown butter, pineapple, and coconut.
Want to explore more from America’s best makers? Check out all of our American-made cheeses right here.