Just about everyone loves cheese, especially if it’s made as fresh as possible. Sweetwater Valley Farm, a quick 25 minute drive from our Tennessee romantic getaway, makes true farm-to-table artisanal cheeses. You can learn about the whole process from the visiting the cows that produce the milk to tasting these award-winning glorious creations, made right on the premises.
Here are three reasons why you should make the trip to our friends and neighbors at Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia TN:
More than two dozen artisan cheeses to choose from
Sweetwater Valley produces 27 different varieties of cheese, including different yellow and white cheddar, curds, gouda and jack flavors. Their total production comes out to roughly 200,000 lbs. a year. Each comes in 10-ounce blocks and can be purchased in the farm store, along with gift baskets, cutting boards, and other merchandise. You may have a difficult time selecting the right kind, so let the knowledgeable staff help you out on deciding which ones you’d like best.
A fascinating lec-“tour” on cheese-making
But before you think about which ones you’d like to take home, educate yourself on how cheese is created by taking a walking tour of the Sweetwater Valley property. The first thing you’ll see is how well the over 1,300 dairy cows are tended to, and it’s the most integral part in cheese-making. The staff also wants to inform visitors on the entire eco-system of their farm, teaching them how people’s routines connect with a cow’s diet, the dairy’s commodities recycling, and how computer technology aids in monitoring the health of the cows. Finally, you’ll hear about the process to make cheese, by video presentation and possibly by live demonstrations as well.
John Harrison, owner of Sweetwater Valley, runs the farm right in the center of the southeast Tennessee valley bearing its name. Starting his farm from scratch, he wanted to distinguish his products by following the traditional farmstead practice of the “cow to consumer” process. That means he and his staff do it all themselves, with no outsourcing or middlemen to interfere.
The “UDDER”-ly enjoyable museum of dairy
Perhaps the most popular aspect of Sweetwater Valley Farm is the UDDERSTORY, an interactive onsite exhibit devoted to dairy agriculture. John Harrison started this educational visitors center because “People are fascinated with milking a cow.” Some of it tells the history of how cows helped humans create milk-based foods. Another part relates how dairies work today and tomorrow, with a special emphasis on how technology brings it all together. There are also informative displays on the dairy industry’s role on combating hunger issues and economic development both locally and worldwide.
If for some reason, you miss buying the cheese at Sweetwater Valley Farm, or you just want to buy more, we have some of their varieties for sale here at the Whitestone Inn, inside the Schoolhouse. You’ll love their cheeses as much as we do, so come try some during your stay with us.
Photos courtesy of Sweetwater Valley Farm.