It may seem that we are suddenly obsessed with cheese. Not long ago, we posted Goat Cheese & Crackers, a review of the non-fiction book, The Year of the Goat. This tale followed Margaret and Karl as they studied the art of making goat cheese. Now here we are just a few weeks later telling you about our road trip to Ashe County Cheese. Well, we do love good cheese, and after spotting a suggestion to visit West Jefferson, NC for a visit to the factory and store we hit the road.
Ashe County Cheese is divided. On side of the street is the general store and on the other the factory. After visiting the store, we learned cheese was being made and made a quick beeline over to the factory. I can’t say it is the most exciting thing to watch, but the video playing in the viewing room does help to make the visit interesting. The narrator puts the role of each piece of equipment into perspective so as you observe factory workers stirring, shoveling, or manipulating various tools (that resemble snow shovels) you understand the process. Moreover, the video also helps you see how many of the buy products of the cheese making effort are transformed into other staples.
Ashe County Cheese has changed many times. In 1981 it got it’s the biggest boost when the facility was upgraded, the cheese store added, and the viewing room was created for tourist. Today, two different companies own Ashe County Cheese, one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Carolina.
While the plant still makes old style cheddar daisy wheels, it now produces a wide variety of cheeses and butter. According to their website, they have developed a strong following for their original Sienna cheese, its many flavored cheeses, and its newest variety Juusto cheese (a mild Scandinavian cheese).
What we got:
While Ashe County Cheese does have an online store, you won’t find these selections listed. You need to visit and buy. Plus West Jefferson is a delightful town for a day trip with some delightful shops and restaurants.