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