Say cheese: 6 Pennsylvania creameries you need to visit

Some of the offerings at God's Country Creamery in Ulysses. (Photo: God's Country Creamery)

By The Keystone Staff

January 18, 2024

As a leading producer of cheese, Pennsylvania boasts dozens of artisanal creameries throughout the state offering up uniquely delicious cheddars, Goudas, Gruyeres, Camemberts, and more.

Did you know that Pennsylvania is a leader in cheese production?

According to Statista, only seven other states produced more cheese than Pennsylvania in 2022, with nearly 40 million pounds of cheese coming from the commonwealth.

It’s not just quantity, but quality. Pennsylvania boasts dozens of artisanal cheesemakers throughout the state, many of whom can be found along the Pennsylvania Cheese Guild’s PA Cheese Trail, offering up uniquely delicious cheddars, Goudas, Gruyeres, Camemberts, and more. In fact, two Pennsylvania cheesemakers took home bronze at the 2023 World Cheese Awards, with Pleasant Lane Farms Creamery in Latrobe recognized for its 1976 Reserve Gouda, and Goat Rodeo Farm and Dairy in Allison Park winning for its Wild Rosemary and Hootenanny. 

Those two award-winning cheesemakers are among the six Pennsylvania creameries we’re highlighting here:

Birchrun Hills Farm – Chester Springs

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 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.

Calkins Creamery – Honesdale

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.

The Creamery at Pleasant Lane Farms – Latrobe

Crafting artisan farmstead cheese from milk produced by their small herd of dairy cows, the Creamery at Pleasant Lane Farms 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 to 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. 

Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy – Allison Park

“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. 

God’s Country Creamery – 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.

Goot Essa – 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.

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