Spotlight on Grayson: Back in Season and Better Than Ever!

Spotlight on Grayson: Back in Season and Better Than Ever!
 
Every year we wait with bated breath for the release of Grayson, a pungent and creamy square of washed rind cheese that is a testament to the highest achievements of American cheese making.
 
Grayson aging in the cellar at Meadow Creek

Our first batch of 2014 just arrived, and if we do say so ourselves, it’s better than ever! Early season Grayson can be (and historically has been) on the milder side of the taste spectrum – more grass, butter, and sunshine than out and out funk. But this year’s inaugural batch is truly incredible – complex, beefy, pungent and barnyardy, all while maintaining an equilibrium of flavor and teasing the tastebuds with a long and hearty finish.

 
Why is this year’s Grayson so good? We asked the cheesemakers, and here’s what we found out:
 
grayson make
Helen and an assistant flipping wheels of Grayson

Good cheese, like all good things in life, takes time. However, in the case of Grayson, the cheesemakers are as patient as monks. Kat Feete, daughter of founder and cheesemaker Helen Feete says that they’ve been developing and perfecting Grayson over the past ten years. They’ve tweaked the recipe, making little improvements here and there to see what turns out the best finished product.

 
However, to make good cheese, you not only have to focus on your cheesemaking technique, you also have to take into account the animals, the land, and your aging facility.
 
cows crossing
Happy grazers crossing to a new pasture

Herdsman Rick Feete has spent the past ten years crossbreeding their Jersey cows with French genetics to achieve the perfect milk profile to make a cheese like Grayson. He also knows just about every blade of grass and type of forage that grows on their mountain pastures to optimize the cows’ grass fed diets.

 
Helen and Kat have also been dutifully working to inoculate their aging cellar with Grayson’s signature orangey b-linens bacteria so that the rinds develop properly. After 10 years, they feel that they’ve created an environment where the proprietary cultures can thrive and make Grayson what it is meant to be… one of the best cheeses in the US, and anywhere in the world for that matter!
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