Say 'Cheese' and Picture Yourself at Local Farms

Though perhaps not the first product that comes to mind when thinking about Upstate agriculture, a considerable variety of cheeses are produced in our region. In fact, the Upstate is home to some storied and award-winning cheeses that have gained recognition among national audiences. There is not a large number of cheese-producing dairy farms in the region, but each one brings unique characteristics and flavors into the mix. 

One such farm is Possum Kingdom Kreamery in Belton, producer of goat milk cheeses. Their Lamancha breed dairy goats produce the milk that makes products such as marinated feta cheese, in smoked olive oil and roasted red pepper varieties. Chevres also come in flavor combinations such as cinnamon, honey, and pecan. 

Goats also roam at Split Creek Farm in Anderson, which has won several awards. Its goat milk feta was the highest scoring cheese in American Dairy Goat Association’s national competition one year. There have also been awards from the American Cheese Society and a gold medal from the World Championship Cheese contest in Wisconsin. Flavors include marinated feta, chevre logs, and fromage blanc used for both sauces and cheese balls. 

At Whispering Pines in Mauldin, sheep are just as important as goats when it comes to cheeses. It is the only farm in South Carolina that produces sheep milk, in addition to producing yogurt, soft cheeses, and hard cheeses such as manchego. 

Forx Farm in Anderson sticks to just one cheese: gouda. Founded and run by immigrants from the Netherlands—where gouda cheese originates—Forx turns out golden rounds of raw milk cheese according to an old recipe. However, they still experiment with additions such as bacon and kale. 

Finally, while it’s not from a typical farm, Clemson University’s blue cheese is worth checking out. It has been made on the campus since the 1950s. The cheese originally was cured in Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel in 1941, and today has a smoky flavor with a bite. It’s available for purchase on campus, and also online and in retail food outlets in the Upstate. 

Some farms are worth visiting for more than their cheeses. Split Creek Farm, for instance, also features folk art by one of the farm’s owners. Whispering Pines takes advantage of the wool from its milk sheep to make and sell blankets and scarves from organically processed yarn. Forx Farm sweetens up their gouda operation with an apiary that the produces wildflower honey. Cheese fans who also love horses might want to make time to linger a bit longer at Possum Kingdom Kreamery, which is also home to several American Drum Horses. Many of the farms have farm stores or offer tours, or their cheeses can be found at stores and farmers markets that feature local foods. Wherever you choose, say “cheese” and picture yourself enjoying dairy products from local farms.

 

Clemson Blue Cheese

Hendrix Student Center: 55 Exchange

McMillan Road, Clemson, SC 29631

864-656-2312

Forx Farm

5575 Dobbins Bridge Road, Anderson, SC 29626

Phone: (864) 328-1475

Email: forxfarm@gmail.com

Possum Kingdom Kreamery

520 Acker Road, Belton, SC 29627

Phone: 864-423-4048

Email: info@PKKreamery.com

Whispering Pines

206 Adams Mill Road, Mauldin, SC, 29662

864-288-7458

Email: dairysheepdeb@gmail.com

 

Photo credits: Banner photo—Rona Sullivan of Sullivan’s Pond Farm; upper right—Possum Kingdom Kreamery

Jennifer Oladipo is a writer in Greenville whose work appears in local and national publications.

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