While a day to celebrate one’s love of cheese is worth making the trip, any day is a good day to visit one of these Pennsylvania creameries, where they make their own cheese.
National Cheese Lovers Day is January 20, according to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The United States produces an incredible amount of cheese each year, churning out more than 13.7 billion pounds of cheese in 2021 alone. Statista reports Pennsylvania produced 43.5 million pounds of that 2021 total, with only six states producing more. Much of Pennsylvania’s cheese production comes from small, family-owned creameries, like these six spots:
The Creamery at Pleasant Lane Farms
Crafting artisan farmstead cheese from milk produced by their small herd of dairy cows, the Creamery at Pleasant Lane Farms in Latrobe is known for many of its artisan cheeses, including their popular cheese curds — which one Facebook reviewer exclaims are “a-freaking-mazing” — in a variety of flavors including buffalo ranch and everything bagel, cheddar, and gouda. Pleasant Lane Farms began in 1976 by Marine veteran Ralph Frye, Jr. and his wife Ann. In 2020, their children and business partners were added the creamery.
They welcome visitors to the farm and offer one-hour tours on Saturdays. In addition to cheese, the Creamery at Pleasant Lane Farms offers other items such as farm fresh eggs and honey.
Location: 239 Phillips Road, Latrobe, Westmoreland County
Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy
“It started, as most good stories do, with a goat.” That’s the beginning of the story of Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy in Allison Park near Pittsburgh. The creamery now crafts award winning fresh chèvre and interesting aged cheeses, from goat milk, cow milk, and blends of both. Culture magazine named their Bamboozle a best mixed milk cheese in 2022, saying “the second you sink your teeth into a supple slice of Bamboozle, your palate is pulled through a familiar succession of flavors: cultured butter, salty ham, freshly-baked bread…”
Their cheeses — as well as caramels made from goat milk — are available online and at many locations throughout Pennsylvania and surrounding states.
Location: Goat Rodeo is in Allison Park in Allegheny County but does not sell from the farm.
Birchrun Hills Farm
Mention Birchrun Blue to any Pennsylvania cheese lover and watch the big smile appear on their face. The award winning semi-soft blue cheese made with raw cow’s milk from Birchrun Hills Farm in Chester Springs is a regional favorite. It’s also a favorite of Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan. The family-owned farm is focused on environmental stewardship, the welfare and health of its animals, and crafting the highest quality products.
Birchrun Hills hosts events on the farm including occasional Friday Happy Hours with wines from Le Garage Winery in Chester Springs and participates in farmers markets in Southeastern Pennsylvania throughout the year.
Location: 1020 Davis Lane, Chester Springs, Chester County
Located in Howard, Goot Essa — which means “good food” or “good eating” in Pennsylvania Dutch — is an Amish cooperative that began in 2001. Each family cares for their small farms and their animals with love and respect. The resulting cheese and other products that come from the cooperative are fresh and high quality.
The cheese from Goot Essa comes from cow, goat, and sheep milks and is made from natural ingredients with no preservatives. As one Facebook reviewer commented, they “would be right at home in a posh fromagerie.” In addition to cheese, their selections include jams, fruit butters, spreads, honey, mustards, and more.
Location: 351 Wise Road, Howard, Centre County
Located in Honesdale near the Upper Delaware River, Calkins Creamery specializes in fine, artisan cheese, using fresh milk from their herd of Holstein cattle. Food & Wine named Calkins’ Noble Road one of the 50 best cheeses in America in 2021.
Visitors are welcome on the farm most weekdays and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., where they can purchase the Noble Road or other quality cheeses from Calkins such as the garlic cheddar Vampire Slayer, Moo Mozz, and Elsa Mae, a version of a washed rind Taleggio.
Location: 288 Calkins Road, Honesdale, Wayne County
God’s Country Creamery
Located in Ulysses, the family owned and operated God’s Country Creamery is dedicated to quality, artisan cheese made from all natural, raw milk from grass-fed cows who are given no artificial growth hormones. They craft cheddar, gouda, gruyere, Swiss, havarti, and other block cheeses.
At the on-site farm store that’s open Monday through Saturday, customers can purchase their cheese, and raw milk, as well as ice cream, yogurt, bakery items, local meat, eggs, soups, and more. God’s Country has a commercial kitchen on site that makes many of the foods in the farm store.
Location: 439 Pushersiding Road, Ulysses, Potter County