A tomme-style, semi-hard raw cow's milk cheese by Meadow Creek Dairy in Virginia

Choose Your Weight:

Appalachian Cheese
by Meadow Creek Dairy

Choose your preferred size from the drop down menu above.

We recently visited Meadow Creek Dairy in Galax, Virginia while they were producing their famed Appalachian tomme-style, semi-hard cheese. Their goal with this cheese is to develop a product that showcases their milk — milk from a herd developed to fit the farm’s mountainous terrain. They keep the cheese simple and focus on affinage, allowing the Appalachian to form a white coat of penicillium mold that compliments the unique flavor.

Appalachian is aged for at least four months and boasts a lush, vibrant flavor evocative of cream and butter, with a mushroom earthiness that recalls the intensity of the cellars. Its lemon notes shade to toasted as the cheese ages. We even detected notes of pineapple! The texture is velvety and melts on the tongue. While Appalachian is unique to the place where it is made, it can be likened in taste to the Tomme de Savoie in France and Toma Piemontese in Italy. It can be eaten alone and it melts beautifully, making it perfect for many dishes. The only ingredients used to produce it are cultured raw milk, salt, and animal rennet.

To store Appalachian keep it wrapped in its original wrapping in the fridge. Avoid prolonged storage in plastic wrap or other non-breathing material as this will kill the rind. Always let your cheese come to room temperature before serving for its full flavor to develop.

What strikes us most about Meadow Creek Dairy is that they produce only raw milk cheeses, three to be exact, in a tiny pocket of hills near Galax, Virginia just on the North Carolina border. They are a grass-based operation with 90% of the cow diet coming from grass. Remarkably they rotate their all-female herd of 140 cows every twelve hours to keep the menu fresh! They are a seasonal operation meaning that all the cows calve together in the spring (when the grass is at its lushest) and then are "dried off" and stop milking together in the winter (when the grass dies back). It's a sustainable system that matches the natural cycle of the cows to the natural cycle of the grass. 

In this lush area of the world bursting with underground natural springs, grass on any given field can grow back within three weeks, quickly recreating a perfect salad bar. We were lucky enough to spend two days with the twelve-person team this past week and were amazed to witness that at Meadow Creek they control every aspect of production from breeding to sales and everything in between including milking, cheesemaking, and aging. But what is most special is that the cheeses produced here are considered among the best raw milk cheeses in the nation.

Heritage Foods is expanding our cheese selections in partnership with the Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund (ASLF), whose mission is to provide monthlong paid apprenticeships for young adults to live on sustainable farms — to work, learn, and be inspired to create change in their communities. We have selected our favorite domestically produced cheeses from ASLF partner farms for pairing with Heritage meats!

Keeps refrigerated for 30 days.