Set in the shade of the Cumberland Plateau outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, Sequatchie Cove Farm is a diversified farm of 300 acres. Under the direction of Bill and Miriam Keener and their family, the farm includes a plant nursery and berry farm, as well as extensive pasture for the production of dairy, beef, lamb and pork. Animals graze year-round on the pasture, and no pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones are used. Raw milk for cheese production is sourced exclusively from Sequatchie Cove’s diverse herd of dairy cows.
The milk for this Reblochon-style cheese comes from Devon cattle, an uncommon breed in the United States. Aged for 60 days, the small wheels are washed repeatedly during the early phase of the ripening period.
Because Dancing Fern is made with raw milk, the cheese tends to evolve along with the seasons as a result of changes in the pasture. Batches early in the year are milder, with a firmer texture. As spring approaches, cows begin eating more fresh grass, which comes through in the flavor profile, while the texture becomes noticeably softer. The peak season for the cheese is summer.
Dancing Fern is soft and gooey, texture becoming increasingly creamy toward its center. Barnyardy and mushroomy aromas dominate in the nose, while on the palate the cheese is buttery and full-bodied with slightly funky and fruity notes.
Pair it with an oaky chardonnay or with an IPA.