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Monday, December 21, 2009

Appalachian: Much More Than a Mountain Range

Early spring of this year, my friend Matt left the comfort of our ideal little Bay Area town to embark on an Appalachian Trail adventure. His goal being to walk the entire length of the trail - from Georgia to Maine. To me this sounds crazy. But Matt's a documentary film-maker and he'd already walked (and filmed) the entire Pacific Crest Trail in 2007, so I knew this was no biggie for him. I mean, I long to be surrounded by pastoral beauty as much as the next person, but I'm just not sure it's necessary to walk 2,175 miles to accomplish this...

Anyway, while Matt was taking his stroll, every so often he'd pop into a town and send us an update on Facebook. One day while I was reading Matt's FB post (and doing my best not to work on our bookkeeping), I decided to Google "Appalachian" and my interest was immediately piqued by a link to Meadow Creek Dairy's Appalachian cheese.

Although I'd not previously heard of this cheese, it sounded delicious: made with Jersey cow's milk, and similar to a French style Tomme, this lightly cooked, pressed curd cheese has a lemony, buttery, mushroomy flavor with a spicy finish. The Junkie in me couldn't resist so I promptly ordered a piece for my cheese counter, and man-oh-man am I ever glad I did! To me, this cheese is a perfect example of everything that is wonderful about the American Farmstead cheese movement.

We have customers in our store everyday who think the only good cheese comes from Europe, and since our focus is on American cheese we try our best to educate these customers. Having a cheese like Appalachian available for American cheese nay-sayers to try has been priceless in my quest to educate (and convert) Euro cheese snobs. Upon popping a piece of high quality, hand crafted, American farmstead cheese into their mouth, it's a delight to see the scrunched up face of the disbelieving morph into the open, bright-eyed glow of the newly converted devotee. Man, I love my job!

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