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N.C. cheese trips

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News & Observer - Julie Leonard
Dave Artigues, the owner of Elodie Farms, washes the rinds from a variety of farmstead goat cheeses weekly as they age in the cheese kitchen at the Rougemont farm.

While there are artisan, or small-batch, cheesemakers all over the South, North Carolina is the leader with more than 35, most on small farms.

Cheese has become such a good way to tour farms that there’s a Western N.C. Cheese Trail ( www.wnccheesetrail.vpweb.com) with maps and details on 10 farms in the foothills and mountains, but there are cheesemakers all over the state.

If you want to visit a cheesemaker, you can try one of these:

Looking Glass Creamery, Fairview. This dairy ( www.ashevillecheese.com) makes both goat’s milk and cow’s milk cheeses that have a following at local-foods restaurants statewide. In addition to classes, their shop, The Creamery, features local products and cheese. 3-7 p.m. Thursdays and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

Celebrity Dairy, Siler City. The property ( www.celebritydairy.com) includes a B&B, event space for weddings, and of course, the dairy where they make goats’ milk cheeses. Lunch and dairy tours for a minimum of 15 people are $15 a person Tuesdays-Thursdays.

Goat Lady Dairy, Climax. The Tate family offers popular five-course dinners at the dairy ( www.goatladydairy.com) once a month in spring and fall, plus a free Open Farm Day twice a year. Dinners are usually $60; bring your own wine or beer.

Elodie Farms, Rougemont. Occasional Dinner on the Porch events feature local chefs, plus there are frequent farm tours, classes and special events. Details: www.elodiefarms.com.

Round Mountain Creamery, Black Mountain. It’s a full-service goat dairy ( www.roundmountaincreamery.com) that produces bottled goat milk and cheeses, with a farm store and year-round tours. Kathleen Purvis

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