Local Vendor Profiles: Local Cheesemakers
Here at Weavers Way, we are truly lucky to be within two hours of some of the most fertile farmland in the country. This allows us great access to artisan producers, especially local cheesemakers. As a cheesemonger, it is my pleasure to offer Weavers Way shoppers the finest local cheeses our region has to offer. I hope to help create a place where you can learn about not only what the products taste like or how to use them, but also where they came from and what makes them special. I personally am lucky to have met, worked with and learned from many of our incredible local vendors.
A few years ago, I was at the Philly Food and Farm Fest, an annual event congregating hundreds of local artisan food producers including numerous cheesemakers, in search of a job on a local farm. At that event, I approached Sam Kennedy, now cheesemaker at Doe Run Dairy, then at Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville NJ. It turned into a yearlong love affair with the process of cheesemaking and affinage (the art of aging cheese) culminating in our Buttercup Brie winning first place for brie in America at the American Cheese Society.
Soon after, I was lucky enough to get another part-time position at Headhouse Farmers Market for Sue Miller of Birchrun Hills Farm. This market also features local goat-cheese maker Pete Demchur in addition to many other local vendors, some of whom you will recognize from the shelves at Weavers Way.
Here’s a list of local farms represented in the cheese cases. Please keep in mind that due to seasonality, not all cheeses nor all producers are available all the time.
Berks County, PA
Valley Milkhouse, Oley (valleymilkhouse.com)
Centre County, PA
Nittany Valley Organics, Mill Hall
Chester County, PA
Birchrun Hills Farm, Chester Springs (birchrunhillsfarm.com)
Conebella Farm, Elverson (conebellafarm.com)
The Farm at Doe Run, Unionville (chestercountycheese.org/the-farm-at-doe-run)
Shellbark Hollow Farm, West Chester (shellbarkhollow.com)
Delaware County, PA
Sun-ni Cheese Company, Broomall (sunnicheese.com)
Lancaster County, PA
Kings Kreamery, East Lampeter
Mercer County, NJ
Cherry Grove Farm, Lawrenceville (cherrygrovefarm.com)
Wayne County, PA
Calkins Creamery, Honesdale (calkinscreamery.com)
Don’t hesitate to ask me, my colleague-in-cheese Shawn O’Connell in Mt. Airy or any of our friendly deli teammates for a taste of anything you’re curious about. In addition, always feel free to ask us for recommendations or pairing suggestions, including wine, beer, food or whatever else you fancy to go with our local cheeses.
And look out for demos where you can interact directly with the cheesemakers. After all, there is no better way to learn about a product than directly from the source.
— Matt Budenstein, Weavers Way Chestnut Hill Deli Manager
Above, Conebella Ayrshires; below, Valley Milkhouse cheesemaker Stefanie Angstadt; Birchrun blue; newly wrapped Shellbark Aurora; Havilah from Cherry Grove; Calkins "Udderly Hot"; Shellbark Farms goats; Sun-ni string cheese; Doe Run plates.