Introducing Valente’s Cheese Program
Every month, we will bring you a curated selection of three-to-four cheeses built around a specific theme. The theme for September is “Families and Farms.”
The cheese selections will be available for purchase this upcoming week at Valente’s.
Our Cheese Director, Jamie Png, curates the cheeses. She earned a masters in Food Studies from NYU and has worked as a cheesemonger, cheesemaker, and cheese educator in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Learn more about her and our Valente’s family by clicking here.
Birchrun Hills Farm, PA
Cow’s Milk, Raw
Over the last 10 years, Birchrun Hills – a small family farm in Chester County PA – has become one of our region’s leading artisan cheese producers. Cheesemaker Sue Miller runs the creamery, with her husband Ken managing care of the cows. With both of their sons home from college and now working in the business alongside their parents, the farm has become a true family enterprise.
Along with their famous Birchrun Blue, Fat Cat is one of their signature cheeses. With an edible natural rind and a pliable semi-soft paste, this cheese is a versatile crowdpleaser with a mushroomy note. Equally great on its own or in recipes, my favorite ways to enjoy Fat Cat are as a satisfying afternoon snack with fresh cut fruit, or on a cheese board as a pre-dinner appetizer.
Prodigal Farm, NC
Goat’s Milk, Pasteurized
Owner and cheesemaker Kathryn Spann is a Southern girl who headed north to pursue a corporate career in New York City. After realizing she needed a change from life as a big city lawyer, Kat and her partner Dave decided to move back south. They bought a farm in the same part of Durham County that her mother’s family had farmed for generations, signaling a homecoming for Kat – the prodigal daughter – that inspired her farm’s name.
Rowdy Gentleman is one of Prodigal Farm’s best cheeses. Great tasting and gorgeous looking, its orange-hued rind is washed in a sour beer from NC’s Mystery Brewing, while its creamy white paste is bisected with a line of vegetable ash. Rowdy makes for an elegant and eye-catching addition to a cheeseboard, and is lovely paired with your favorite local honey.
Lively Run Goat Dairy, NY
Goat’s Milk, Pasteurized
Started in 1982 and located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region, Lively Run is one of the oldest artisan goat dairies in the country – and one that remains family-owned to this day. Long-time owners Steve and Suzanne Messmer took over the farm in 1995, and after growing up around goats and cheese, their talented son Pete assumed head cheesemaker duties a few years ago.
Cayuga Blue won first place in its category in the 2017 American Cheese Society Competition – the first time the farm ever entered! I like to think of this cheese as a gentler, “gateway” blue that’s mellower and yet more complex than more aggressive blue cheeses. Enjoy with caramelized nuts, on fruit toast, or over a salad.