by Mary Pratt, photos by Pattie Garrett
September is a relaxing month to wander through farm country to the Washington County Cheese Tour, http://thecheesetour.com, a self-driving, free event. The land is full of maturing corn fields, greenest hay fields, and livestock grazing lush pastures.
Four farms (Argyle Cheese, Moxie Ridge, Dancing Ewe, and Battenkill Creamery) also participate in the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. While you visit, tour the farms, sample and purchase products, and enjoy demonstrations
Dave and Marge Randles, Argyle Cheese Farm, make yogurt and cheeses on their family’s dairy farm, which dates to 1860. In addition to NYS Fair prize winner Amazing Grace, they offer more cheese, gelato, buttermilk, and yogurt smoothies. Try breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches, and deep-fried cheese curds.
Moxie Ridge Farm, the newest Tour cheesemaker is also in Argyle. In 2016 Leah Hennessy bought her farm from Liza and Dave Porter, former Market vendors. Today Leah continues to make goat cheese and will debut an aged cheese. Watch hand milking, and meet the goats.
While Jody Somers, Dancing Ewe Farm, was in veterinary school, his family bought a farm in Granville. Soon he switched and studied sheep milk cheeses in Tuscany, where he met Luisa. When she came to the US and visited Dancing Ewe, she never left. Today they produce Italian style cheeses and cured meats. You can make lunch or dinner reservations.
This year, Battenkill Valley Creamery, Salem, has joined the Tour. Don and Seth McEachron produce delicious milk, cream and ice cream. In 2010 they won a prize for best milk in New York State.
In addition to the Farmers’ Market members, other places to visit are:
Consider Bardwell Farm, Eastern Washington County and West Pawlet, Vermont. Angela Miller and Russell Glover produce cheese from goat and cow milk. Learn the history of the 1860 cheese cooperative; see cheese making demonstrations.
Victory View Vineyard, Easton. A perfect compliment to the cheeses are red wines handcrafted from their marquette, maréchal foch, frontenac, and other grapes.
RS Taylor and Sons Brewery, Misty Bleu Farm, Hebron. The Taylors built their tap room in 2015. Three generations of the family live, brew, and cook there
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays at High Rock Park. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check us out on the FreshFoodNY app. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer opportunities.