Another place to where we headed on Saturday was the Middlefield Original Cheese Co-op. We’re always looking for good local dairy products (sorry C :() and this one fit the bill nicely.
The co-op started in 1956, and today consists of upwards of 100 member farmers, most of them Amish, and most of them maintaining small herds of dairy cows (less than 20). The cows are not treated with any hormones, and most are as grass-fed as is possible here in Northeast Ohio. Since these are such small operations, the cows are typically milked by hand, and the fresh milk is even delivered to the co-op in traditional milk cans. Talk about stepping back in time! I love that this is a group of small-scale farmers, and not some giant industrial conglomerate.
The small shop has refrigerators full of the house-made cheese, including a variety of Cheddars, Colby, and Jacks, and even a fair selection of goat cheeses. They also offer some other local goods, such as pastas and popcorn, and have a full deli – I didn’t ask where the deli meat comes from, so I can’t speak to that, but it was significantly cheaper than a normal grocery store. In the store is a window that overlooks the cheese production facility. At the time we were there, there was only one man down there slicing some cheese blocks, but if you go at the right time, you can see various steps of the cheese-making process.
Although I didn’t take any pictures, I found a few on Flickr, courtesy of Sara Graca, so you can get a peek at the store.