Visiting Cheese Makers
Up until recently, most of the cheese tours you could take were of large-scale operations where the machinery was most of what you saw. Farmstead and artisan cheese makers throughout the world have heard your pleas. And while many are too small to offer tours on a regular basis (they have their hands full making cheese), more and more are opening up for seasonal tours and casual drop-in visitors. Through American artisanal cheese guilds, you'll find your way to the American creameries and farms open to tours.
California Artisan Cheese Guild and California Milk Advisory Board
Newly formed in 2006, the California Artisan Cheese Guild is busy developing a map of artisan and farmstead cheese makers, complete with information on visiting days and hours. Check their website for updates. In the meantime, the California Milk Advisory Board's website lists cow's-milk farmstead cheese makers along with contact information.
I Love Cheese.com
The founders of ILoveCheese.com are wise to the pull of artisanal and farmstead cheese. On the website, you can find maps to creameries on the East Coast, in the Midwest, on the West Coast, and in the Southern United States.
Maine Cheese Guild
The Maine Cheese Guild publishes a map on their website showing all the places in Maine you can buy cheese. The locations of 20 dairies are shown, as well as those of five specialty food stores.
Pacific Northwest Cheese Project
Cheese events and creameries throughout Oregon and Washington are tracked on the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project's website.
Southern Cheesemakers' Guild
The Southern Cheesemakers' Guild publishes information on cheese-making dairies throughout the southern United States. The dairies and creameries are grouped by milk type and information on directions, visiting hours, and phone numbers is all there.
Vermont Cheese Council
The Vermont Cheese Council recognizes 39 artisan and farmstead cheese makers on their brochure and map, “Vermont Cheesemakers.” Phone numbers, visiting hours, and information on tours are all listed on the map. And don't miss the website's virtual tour!
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board publishes a guide to artisanal and farmstead dairies in Wisconsin and a map, “A Traveler's Guide to Wisconsin Cheese, Beer and Wine.” This is a terrific resource for travelers. On one side is a map of Wisconsin with all the food sites to see, and the opposite side provides names, directions, tour information, phone numbers, and hours. It also includes wineries and specialty food stores.