As a new era dawns on the Finger Lakes, and the wine trails have matured, there is a new movement afloat. There is a group of hard working individuals, farmers, crafting their raw product, milk, into artisanal cheeses. This is a natural accompaniment to the wineries that dot the landscape.
As more and more farm operations turn to making cheese, and the cheese makers become more organized, you may someday see a Cheese Trail intermingling with the well known wine trails of this area.
Sunset View Creamery
The Hoffman Dairy, in Odessa, is a 5th generation operation. There, Carmella Hoffman has been crafting Cheddars, Monterey Jack Style Cheeses and Fresh Cheese Curds for nearly six years, while husband Ron and son, Jeremy, tend to the herd. Carmella uses pasteurized milk, and the cheese is available at the farm store, 4970 County Rd. 14, in Odessa, and is sold at many of the local wineries as well as Green Star Co-Op, in Ithaca, and Stillman’s Greenhouse and Country Store, in Montour Falls.
Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese Co.
Nancy Richards has been crafting cheeses, made from raw cow’s milk, from the closed herd of 50 milking Holsteins, belonging to Nancy’s family, the Taber Hill Farms Inc. The farm has been in the family since 1919. The cheese is currently available at various retail outlets in Ithaca, Syracuse and Rochester, with other outlets in New York City. Cheese can be purchased at the plant, by appointment, or by chance.
Keeley’s Cheese Co.
Perhaps the newest cheese company, in the world, Keeley McGarr is starting to produce Irish style, washed rind cheeses on her family’s grazing dairy in King Ferry, on the East side of Cayuga Lake. Keeley opened in March, 2010, and hopes that you will see her cheese at outlets around the Finger Lakes, as well as the dairy store, at the farm.
Finger Lakes Dexter Cheese Creamery
Rose Marie Belforti produces raw milk cheeses from Dexter cows. This is the first and only producer in the western hemisphere to offer an authentic, probiotic kefir cheese product: An artisanal farmstead raw milk cheese, Kefir Cheese, made with a mother culture of authentic kefir grains and rich milk from grass-fed Irish Dexter house cows, and aged for 60 days or more. Cheese is available directly from the farm in King Ferry, on the East side of Cayuga Lake.
Created by Tom Murray on Route 96, 2 miles south of Waterloo. Making hard aged cheeses from their grass fed herd, like Old British Cheddar, Garlic and Dilly Girl and their famous Red Buddy. You’ll find these at several local NY Pride wineries, and at their farm tasting room and store.
Lively Run Goat Dairy
One of the first commercial goat dairy operations in New York State, beginning production in 1982. Chevre, made in the traditional French style, Balkan style Feta and, “Cayuga Blue”, a goat’s milk Blue are offered for sale at the farm store, located near the village of Interlaken between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, as well as many local wineries, and retailers throughout the area. A daily tour is held Monday – Friday, at 1.30PM, for a nominal fee.
Northland Sheep Dairy
Located 30 miles east of Ithaca, produces truly handmade sheep cheese on the farm, using only raw sheep milk from 100% grass fed animals. Donn Hewes and Maryrose Livingston produce a number of hard and soft cheeses. There are no sales at the farm, but they do sell at the Ithaca Farm Market.
Sidehill Acres Goat Farm
Russell and Rita Kellogg established this goat dairy in 1982. In 1994 they started a goat cheese processing plant, and produce premium quality hand crafted goat milk products. Tour the cheese plant and learn how the cheese is made. Side Hill Acres is on Route 96, in Candor, between Owego and Ithaca. Tours are available, year round. Cheese is available for sale at the farm, or at Green Star Co-Op, in Ithaca.
Owned and operated by Lisa and Kevin Engelbert, it is a certified organic farm raising dairy, beef, veal, and pork on their 600 acre farm in Nichols, NY on the Pennsylvania border. The farm’s milk is being made into 16 varieties of cheddar, gouda, swiss, jack and mozzarella cheeses, sold via their new farm store and at a few retail outlets near the farm.
Wake Robin Farm
Meg and Bruce Schader, started their dairy farm in 2006 with a small herd of Jersey cows and built a small processing plant to produce their all natural yogurt. Wake Robin Farm started by making yogurt which can now be found in many retails stores in central NY. They are now diversifying their product line to include three varieties of artisanal cheese: Baliwick Cheddar, an italian style cheese they call Mona Lisa, and Caerffili, a semi soft cheese recipe originating in Wales.