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The Cheese Trail

Jan 02, 2019

Say Cheese! Mild, medium, sharp, aged, smoked, soft, hard: there are endless terms to describe cheese, as there are seemingly endless varieties. Whether as a quick and easy snack, a delicious part of a beloved recipe, or paired with a fine wine at an elegant gathering, cheese is an incredibly versatile food that is a staple at many dinner tables.

Take a drive along the Circle Farm Tour Cheese Trail and discover the divine flavour that results from the care and hard work put into crafting artisanal cheeses.

Here are the locations that will take you along the Circle Farm Tour Cheese Trail:

Milner Valley Cheese, Langley

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Credits: Milner Valley Cheese on Facebook

Milner Valley Cheese is a 5th generation family-run business with a rich and fascinating history. Marianne and Glenn Smith own the 50-acre farm, which was originally purchased by Glenn’s great-grandfather from the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1880’s. The farm changed and evolved with each generation and today, is well known for its delectable goat cheese. The Smiths use pasteurized fresh goat milk from their own herd. Their goats are provided the very best nutrition and no artificial additives or preservatives are used in their cheeses.

At their charming Farmgate Shop, they sell a wide variety of cheeses, such as: Milner Jack (a mild, semi-soft cheese, easy slicing); Flavored Jack (a spicier version of the Milner Jack, in flavours such as red bell pepper, chili, mustard seed, jalapeno, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic); Tipsy Goat (aged cheese infused with red merlot wine), Chèvre (creamy, spreadable, and mild, comes in a variety of flavors); Goat Feta (soaked in brine, deliciously tangy and moist); Caerphilly (a Welsh-style hard cheese, perfect substitute for parmesan); and many more.

They sell their delicious goat cheese curds every Friday in their shop. Perfect for poutine, pizza, or just “squeaky” snacking; their fresh firm texture squeaks against your teeth as you chew! In summer they sell their heavenly Goats Milk Gelato in flavours such as Salted Caramel, Cookies and Cream, Hazelnut, Chocolate, Mango, and more. You will also find cuts of lamb (from lambs raised on their farm), eggs, goats’ milk, and a line of gifts, including luxurious goat milk soap!

Please note, they follow the natural milk cycle of the goats, which produce milk 9 months of the year, spring to early winter. Therefore, the selection of cheeses may vary with the season. Visitors are welcome during business hours to watch the goats in the field and have a look into the milking barn and processing plant.

To purchase their quality products, visit their Farmgate Shop at Smith Heritage House, 21479 Smith Crescent, Langley.

Golden Ears Cheesecrafters, Maple Ridge

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Credits: Golden Ears Cheesecrafters on Facebook

Sister team Emma and Jenna Davison made their first batch of cheese as Golden Ears Cheesecrafters on August 1, 2011 and have never looked back! Their passion for creating exquisite artisan cheese comes naturally— they come from a family with deep roots in farming. Emma and Jenna are the fifth generation of their family’s farmers, still working on the same land as their ancestors.

Their cheese is truly local: 100% of the milk used in crafting the cheese, is from the family’s herd of grass-fed Jersey cows that live right next door. Choose from over 30 varieties of their savoury hand-crafted cheeses such as Brie, Feta, Basler, Cheddar, Gouda, Havarti, Quark, Neufchatel, and so many more. You can even watch your cheese being made through their big bright viewing window! They also make the most delicious Jersey Cow Cultured Butter. If you happen to stop by on a Tuesday, make sure to pick up a bag of their fresh cheese curds. If you need a special gift, they make lovely gift baskets filled with not only their own artisan cheese, but also other locally made products. Going to a party? Order a platter designed to your specifications - you can do a cheese-only platter or add snack items like crackers, preserves, and charcuteries.

If the extensive variety of cheese isn’t enough to entice you, their Farm Store shelves are stocked with locally made foods, such as jams, jellies, balsamics, pickles, olives, and crackers. You can also purchase frozen from-scratch soups, local sausage, organic chicken, eggs, and milk. They also carry kitchenware: aprons, teapots, kitchen towels, vintage items… the list is endless! Truly one-stop shopping for all your gift-giving (or for treating yourself)! And here’s a tip: before you even begin your shopping, you’ll need some sustenance: have a bite in their Country Kitchen, open seven days a week from 9 am to 3 pm. Choose from items such as fresh hardy soups, artisan sandwiches (including gooey grilled cheese) and fresh salads.

Visit them at 22270 - 128 Avenue, Maple Ridge.

Birchwood Dairy Farm, Abbotsford

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Credits: Birchwood Dairy Farm-Abbotsford

Len & Grace Krahn began their farming journey in 1964 on a small farm. Four years later they moved to the 220-acre farm where they still reside today, and named it Birchwood, because of the graceful Birchwood trees that surround the property. Birchwood is a combined dairy farm, processing plant, ice cream shop and country store. They produce their products using the milk from their own cows. Hay and silage to nourish the cows is grown right on the farm.

Quality is at the source of everything they do, and it truly shows in each and every one of their milk-based products. Their delicious cheeses include Orange Cheddar and White Cheddar (both in mild, medium, and sharp); Marble Cheddar, Monterey Jack, (Plain, Jalapeño, Peppercorn), Feta (Plain, Herb and Garlic, and Sun-dried Tomato); and fresh Cheddar Curd. In addition to their tasty farmcrafted cheeses, you can also pick up your other dairy needs: milk, sour cream, yogurt, and 50 tempting flavours of frozen yogurt and ice cream.

Book a farm tour, and stop in for lunch at their Country Kitchen, open seven days a week! Visit them at 1154A Fadden Road, Abbotsford.

Mt Lehman Cheese Co., Abbotsford

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Credits: Mt Lehman Cheese Co on Facebook

Having grown up on a goat dairy, Jason Dykstra’s passion for making artisan cheese began at a young age. He milked goats on the farm and started his first job in milk processing in 2001. It was during this time that he was introduced to the art of Cheesemaking. In 2003 he worked as a Cheesemaker for his previous 4-H leader. In 2013, Jason started his own venture, Mt. Lehman Cheese Co.

It’s no surprise that with Jason’s knowledge of goat milk products, Mt. Lehman specializes in goat cheese. Their handcrafted goat cheeses include: Blue Capri (aged, blue, unpressed); Fraser Valley Goat Feta (brined, semi-firm, unpressed); Frisky (brined, bloomy rind, unpressed); Matsqui Goat Cheddar (aged, hard); Mt. Lehman Chèvre (fresh, unpressed); Mt. Lehman Tomme (aged, brined, hard); Gouda Van Geit (hard, washed curd); Dutchess (unpressed, washed curd); and Gozzarella (brined, stretched curd, unpressed). For a taste of something delightfully different, try their Water Buffalo Cheese, or their Wine or Beer Washed Cheddar! How many people can say they’ve tasted cheese produced from the milk of a Water Buffalo?

Mt. Lehman’s cheese room is on location at Goat’s Pride Dairy. As well as making their own cheese, Mt. Lehman processes milk and yogurt for Goat’s Pride. There is a small store on-site where you can purchase Mt. Lehman’s Cheese and Goat’s Pride products as well as other local goodies.

Visit them at 30854 Olund Road, Abbotsford.

Smits & Co.w Farm Cheese, Chilliwack

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Credits: Smits & Co.w Farm Cheese on Facebook

Owned and operated by Ron and Stephanie Smit and family, Smits & Co.w is a small farm and artisan cheese making business. Using milk from their own mixed herd of Holstein and Brown Swiss cows, they employ a traditional method to create a tasty Gouda-style cheese. Using milk from a local goat herd, they also craft an amazing Goat Gouda.

Their selection of cheeses includes mild, medium and aged plain as well as spiced cheeses such as Garlic, Italian, Tzatziki, Onion, Mustard, Pumpkin Seed Nutmeg, Smoked, and much more.Their goat cheese varieties include Curry Ginger, Sweet Clover, Piri Piri, Garlic & Chives, Goat Emmental, Curry Mustard, and Basil & Black Pepper.

They also sell fresh cheese curds, and a selection of Dutch foods and pork products.Purchase these products and more at their unique store located right on the farm. Cheese platters and gift baskets are available upon request, so you can show up at your next holiday party with a tray that is sure to be a hit.

Visit them at 5787 Lickman Road, Chilliwack.

The Farm House Natural Cheeses, Agassiz

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Nestled among the hills of Agassiz is The Farm House Natural Cheeses. Using fresh milk from the family dairy’s own cows and goats ensures a quality product from start to finish. They are proud to sell their goat’s milk and cow’s milk products in their warm and welcoming Farm House Store. The Farm House Natural Cheeses is one of only two cheese making businesses in Canada that use the traditional clothbound method to make their cheddar. They are also unique in that they use a blend of milk from their Holstein, Guernsey, and Brown Swiss cows, resulting in a most flavourful taste.

Their cheeses made with cow’s milk include: Brie, Alpine Gold, Camembert, Clothbound Cheddar, Fermiere, Gouda, Quark, and much more.Their selection of goat cheese includes Brie, Cheddar, Caerphilly, Gouda, Feta, Kabritt, La Florette, and more. They also sell their farm-made milk, yogurts, and butter. Try a recent addition to their product line: Fresh Cheese Truffles. Paired with crackers, they are the perfect choice for a ready to go appetizer. You’ll also find items like honey, jams chocolate, granola, crackers, soup, gelato, and more.

Visit their Farm House Store at 5634 McCallum Road, Agassiz.

If you would like to learn more about these delicious stops along the Circle Farm Tour or are interested in learning about other local attractions, visit: http://circlefarmtour.ca.

Follow the #CircleFarmTour Cheese Trail.