It's been a month now since the CheeseMobile made the final trek through the midwest back to Arkansas. We made a total of 36 stops at creameries and cheeseshops in 13 states!
But to pick up where we left off: During Week 4 of the CheeseQuest, we said goodbye to Mr. Sweet Freedom in Pennsylvania and met up with CheeseMinion, Florida-resident, and photographer Krissy. For the third and final leg home to Arkansas, we drove across Pennsylvania, through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, for a grand total of 6,500 miles!
After the trip home, we caught up with Krissy about her experience:
Q: What made you want to join the Sweet Freedom Creamery CheeseQuest?
A: For purely selfish reasons, I wanted to have an adventure outside of Florida and to get to support Jessica while dusting off my camera. Before this trip I had little interest in cheese, beyond eating it. Boy did that change!
Q: Where was the most interesting stop during your portion of the CheeseQuest?
A: There are too many places to choose. We saw a lot of neat places! Matt, Stacey and Sam from The Farm at Doe Run answered all of my silly cheese questions. Their beautiful facility in Pennsylvania was my first stop on the #CheeseQuest, and it changed my mind about cheese.
It’s hard to find a good kosher cheese these days and Ludwig Farmstead Creamery set a standard in my book. Cheesemaker Adrian and marketing manager Richard explained to us how they work with a local Rabbi to produce their certified Kosher Cheese. The history of how Ludwig got started is tragic, but turned into something beautiful and tasty.
Krissy discovers and samples Ludwig Creamery's line of kosher cheeses as cheesemaker, Adrian, looks on.
Q: What’s your impression of the cheese community and cheesemakers on the trip?
A: Cheesemakers are the NICEST people I think I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Each place we went took us in with open arms and answered all of my newbie questions. No judgement passed anywhere we went. They welcomed us into their homes, cheesemaking facilities, and shops with open arms.
While Jessica was talking widgets, facility, pumps, floors, drains and walls, I learned a lot of about the folks that work with the cheesemakers, their life, and their love of cheese. Additionally, I learned a lot about the history behind how these beautiful facilities came to be in place.
Q: What was your favorite part of the CheeseQuest?
A: I think just being out of Florida was the best part! But really… meeting all of the wonderful cheese makers has been great. And I really enjoyed getting to pet cows, goats, farm dogs along the way -- from laughing at Pierre, the dog at Baejte Farms, as he chased guineas and goats to playing with Bella at CheezSorce.
But really, I think my favorite part was transitioning from “I’m just here to take pretty pictures” to “I need to know more about cheesemaking and the lives of cheesemakers.
Q: What cheese was your favorite?
A: Sweet Fire (chèvre with a blackberry and habanero syrup) from Mackenzie Creamery blew my mind. I’m kind of obsessed with it now and very sad that I can’t find it anywhere near me! So if you see some, send it to me.
Willow from the Farm at Doe Run was also super yummy, as well as their Three Sisters - I wanted to make a grilled cheese out of it! While stinky, the cheese from Jacobs & Brichford also tasted delicious. Their Adair made me rethink how I feel about cheese rind.
Q: Where are you headed from here?
A: I’ll spend a day or two visiting friends in NW Arkansas before making my way back down to Florida to see my dogs.
Q: Any parting words?
A: I learned more about cheese in my two weeks traveling with Jessica than I ever thought was possible! I really just wanted a break from Florida, but I learned a lot and I’m glad I did. I thought I was just going to take some pretty pictures, eat some cheese, and catch up with Jessica ... but I got a serious cheese education. I loved it!