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August 29, 2014
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Highland Farm: The Next Generation and Calkins Creamery artisan cheeses

A strategically placed wheel of “Cowtipper,” one of Calkins Creamery’s first cheeses, shows off Highland Farm in the background.
Contributed photo

By Laura King

According to author Jonathan Swift, the fare of a bachelor is “bread, cheese and kisses.” But the sound of that is delicious to just about everyone, and not in small quantities. The proof? In 2011, the average American consumed 30 pounds of cheese, an amount that has been steadily increasing since the 1990s. Our affection for artisan cheese, made in small batches from local sources, is growing at a pace that exceeds even the growth rate of general cheese consumption. Presently it accounts for 10 percent of all cheese purchased in the United States—and given its exquisite fresh local tastes and exciting textures, dare we say a much higher percentage of total cheese enjoyment?

When searching for mouth-watering artisan cheese in the Upper Delaware River valley, Calkins Creamery in Wayne County, PA is a notable rising star. Under the inspired guidance of Emily Montgomery and husband Jay, this evolving venture has, for the last six years, been handcrafting creative small batch cheeses as a companion business conceived to help prosper the Bryant family dairy farm. And prospering it is. Calkins Creamery cheeses can be found in more than 100 locations across New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Washington, DC, where the brand is garnering affection from loyal customers and acclaim within the industry.

California dreamin’
The couple first developed an interest in using raw milk to produce artisan/farmstead cheeses while living on the West Coast. Emily, who had worked at the Penn State University Creamery as a food science undergraduate, took a cheese-making course at Cal-Poly University, and Jay gained experience at an ice cream manufacturing company in California; his expertise is in food engineering.