This square-shaped stunner is inspired by washed-rind European classics like Taleggio and Reblochon. Made with cow's milk, Grayson is soft, yielding, and reddish-orange, yielding a pungent aroma and an approachable flavor.
Rick and Helen Feete launched Meadow Creek Dairy in 1988 as a family farm in the mountains of southwest Virginia. The Feetes use sustainable livestock management practices, including rotational grazing, to allow the soil and the pasture to replenish without being overburdened. Over the years, they've focused on improving the genetics and milk quality of their herd of Jersey cows, breeding for specific characteristics and shaping the unique terroir of the cheese.
Meadow Creek produces cheese seasonally, beginning in late March after the calves have been born and the grass shows signs of new growth. The herd grazes on native grasses and legumes, with the occasional supplementation of grains, salt, and Norwegian kelp. Milking and cheese production slow down in the fall and come to a halt just before Christmas. Unlike many dairy operations, Meadow Creek’s cows are never confined.
The development of Grayson was inspired by the Feetes' trip to Wales and Ireland in 2000. After many years of tweaking the recipe and process, and a few more trips to Europe (for research purposes, of course), the Feetes settled on the version of Grayson that's made today. The final product is a direct reflection of its locality and a perfect expression of the nuanced flavors of the milk that go into it.
Grayson’s flavors are robust and balanced, with savory notes of bacon, smoke, grass, and butter. It can be slightly sweet, with nutty and earthy undertones.
Grayson is the type of cheese that can stand alone in its boldness. However, it does pair well with bread and dried fruit, a full-bodied chardonnay, or a medium red like pinot noir.