Founded by Al and Desiree Wehner in 2000, Sweet Grass Dairy is steeped in dairy farming tradition. Since their arrival in the U.S. from Germany, successibe generations of Al’s family have been dairy farmers in New York State. However, when Al moved to Georgia to attend college in the early 1970s, the warm winters combined with meeting his future wife, Desiree, persuaded Al to stay.
For the first 20 years of its existence, the property that is now Sweet Grass Dairy was a conventional dairy farm. In the early 1990s, the Wehners attended a seminar at a dairy conference on rotational grazing that changed everything. Inspired by the concept of rotating the herd through different paddocks each day, the Wehners reinvented their entire farm by reducing the number of cows in their herd, investing in irrigation systems, and eventually taking cheesemaking courses in California. This transformed Sweet Grass Dairy into the farm that it is today. In addition, they also acquired a small herd of goats.
Fast forward to 2002, when Al and Desiree’s daughter Jessica and her husband Jeremy began working on the farm. Having left budding careers in food and marketing in 2005, Jessica and Jeremy officially purchased the farm from her parents. Under their ownership, Sweet Grass has expanded its cheese-making operations and has now gained national recognition.
With a rustic rind that looks like a tumbled stone, and a butter-yellow paste with small eyes dotted throughout, Thomasville Tomme is a very attractive cheese. It is Sweet Grass’ homage to their hometown of Thomasville and was inspired by the Tomme cheeses of the French Pyrenees. Using raw cow’s milk contributes to its complex flavors of salted butter with savory undertones and a tangy finish.
Aged for at least 60 days, Thomasville Tomme has a rich, smooth paste with a toothsome snap when bitten into. Its aroma is of tangy crème fraiche combined with the smell of a cool, damp cellar.
This cheese pairs very well with beers that have a good amount of hops, especially IPAs. It can also pair successfully with light fruit forward reds such as Pinot Noir or Syrah.