An afternoon cheese cave tour and cheese tasting in Long Valley, New Jersey … a trip to Valley Shepherd Creamery pretty much makes for a perfect Fall afternoon.
If you’ve been visiting my site with regularity, you have no doubt picked up on my love for cheese. I will gladly turn down a warm chocolate chip cookie for a cup of queso any time, and frequently use the hash tag #cheeseismyhappyplace on Instagram.
Growing up with a Parisian-born mother, a cheese plate was always a given at our dinner table, and that, perhaps, might be where my love for all things cheese started. Who knows? So when I saw an email advertising a cheese cave tour at a nearby creamery, it should come as no surprise that I immediately signed up.
I mean … it’s like visiting the mothership.
The cheese cave tour was held at Valley Shepherd Creamery, a place that we’ve been to a few times before (there are some super cute picture of the kids from three years ago, and some more details on the creamery if you visit that link). I’ve noticed they have cheese making workshops, but the registration fee is a little out of my budget. That being said, this cave tour event was a veritable bargain – I signed up all three of us for $23!
Valley Shepherd has approximately 400 goats now and is at 18 different farmers markets a week, including running a few differential retail locations. They produce 35 different cheeses, and are currently building a facility just for making their goat cheese logs to keep up with production demands. Currently all their goat cheese logs are made by hand, but the increasing demands from some bigger retailers like Whole Foods is forcing their hand a bit and they are working on walking that fine line between remaining true to their handmade artisan ways, but adding in a few larger commercial accounts.
Besides cheese, they also have yogurt, milk, pastas, and a number of other food products available. They use milk from 600-700 animals, and most recently they have added feta, halloumi, and three new hard goat cheeses. Their feta is one of the cheeses I purchased this past weekend, and it is amazing. Salty and briny and everything feta should be.