Sequatchie Cove Gets National Attention for Local Cheese
Life is a little slower in Sequatchie Cove, a 300 acre farm northwest of Chattanooga. That is until word got out about their champion cheese
"People all over the nation are wanting this cheese," says Bill Keener, who owns the farm.
And so the farm that's been considered a local gem is now fielding a flurry of calls about their Dancing Fern cheese. "We've had French cheese consultants come in a couple times a year to really help Nathan hone this cheese," Keener says. "So we're hoping that cheese will be our signature cheese."
Nathan Arnold is the cheese connoisseur at the Cove and says the Dancing Fern has a nice texture that's smooth and creamy with a nice balance of flavors. On cheese making day, he makes sure the milk is pumping through the pipeline and into the vat. The milk is warmed and cultures and starter bacteria added to take the mixture from a liquid to yogurt texture. Now in the vat, the ingredients that Nursery Rhymes are made of. "We'll pour off all the whey and the curd that's at the bottom will be pressed into like a big cake," Arnold explains.
Stainless steel weights push out the remaining liquid. Cheese makers will cut the cake into individual pieces and put it into the forms to create the shape. It's on to the cooler where the cheese is cooled and bathed in a brine.
Time takes a turn in changing the cheese, as it ages anywhere from 60 days to 12 months. "There's so many variables," Arnold says. "If you change one thing along the way then you have a different cheese. It's a constant exploration."
One that's paying off for Sequatchie Cove, the farm that's taking it's love for local food all around the world.
For more on Sequatchie Cove, including where you can buy their cheese, click here.
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