Cheese of the Week - Valley Shepherd Creamery Scent-sation

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From New Jersey's Valley Shepherd Creamery comes this delectable washed-rind stinker made from the mixed raw milks of cows & sheep. The rectangular log has a white-ivory pâte with a soft and friable texture scattered with small holes. The taste is strongly mushroomy with a piquant, salty background.

Valley Shepherd Creamery sits on a farm of 120 acres in Long Valley, Morris County, NJ. They are extraordinarily prolific, offering 20 varieties of sheep, cow and mixed milk cheeses, as well as sheep's milk yogurt. From blues to bloomy-rinds to tommes, Valley Shepherd's offerings are truly unsparing. A wide selection for its own sake is never a good idea, but when the quality is this good, the more the merrier I say!

Valley Shepherd also realizes how difficult it can be to run a financially-sound farmstead creamery, even when the quality is high, and so they offer many other value-added products as well. Aside from offering lamb meat, wool blankets and other such value-added products, they also have a Shearing festival in the Spring as well as cheesemaking classes throughout the milking season. All these and more help Valley Shepherd to survive during times of financial difficulty. And their location, less than 50 miles from New York City, grants them a huge potential marketplace for all these products.

Valley Shepherd Creamery cheeses are available at many New York area farmers markets, including the Wednesday & Saturday Union Square Greenmarket. See their website for more info.

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