Meadow Creek Dairy is a family farm located in the mountains of southwest Virginia. At an elevation of 2,800ft., the combination of pure water, clean air and deep soils produce an ideal environment for growing diverse, mineral-rich pastures.
Rick and Helen Feete have been farming since 1980 and over the years have worked extremely hard, focusing their attention on constantly improving the genetics and milk quality of their herd of Jersey cows.
Meadow Creek's cheese production is resolutely seasonal. Milking begins in late March, when all the calves are born, to coincide with the new growth of grass. The cows are never confined and are born and raised on pasture, where they graze a diverse mixture of perennial grasses and legumes, supplemented with some grains, salt and Norwegian kelp.
In the fall, when the grass declines, milk production naturally winds down too. Christmas Eve is the last day of the milking season and the beginning of a two month rest for the cows and the family.
Although Rick and Helen have been making Mountaineer since their second year of cheesemaking, this cheese truly came into its own after a trip to Europe in 2004.
While there, they had the chance to taste some of the great Alpine cheeses of Valle d'Aosta and the Savoie, as well as tour some of the European cheese aging facilities. This experience crystallized their vision of what Mountaineer should be: a dense, complex cheese matured in the traditional European style, but reflecting their mountainous Virginian surroundings.
Made from the milk of one milking, Mountaineer is a firm cheese with a hard rind that is washed regularly during the six month aging process.
The texture is smooth and supple with occasional small eyes (holes). At an age of about six months, Mountaineer develops a complex flavor, predominately toasty, nutty and sweet with hints of butterscotch.
Excellent with figs or toasted hazelnuts, Mountaineer also pairs well with a Viognier or apple and pear ciders.