2017
two thousand seventeen
Twenty-Seventeen
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Sunday, October 10th dawned clear and chilly in my little corner of Wayne County with the first killing frost of the season laying crisp on our lawns and fields.  A thick white fog hung over Mud Creek and the Erie Canal, but the sky was clear and bright with all signs indicating a perfect fall day ahead, a perfect day for our venture along the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes.

The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail is a new addition to the Finger Lakes Wine Trails, much like our own Wayne County Apple Trail except, of course, it features cheese producers.  The eleven locations holding open houses were Muranda Cheese, Waterloo; Wake Robin Farm, Jordan; Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery LLC, King Ferry; Keeley's Cheese Co. at McGarr Farms, King Ferry; Lively Run Goat Diary, Interlaken; Sunset View Creamery, Odessa; Northland Sheep Dairy, Ithaca Farmers Market; Side Hill Acres Goat Farm, Candor; Englebert Farms, Nichols; and Golden Age Cheese, Woodhull. 

Time would not permit us to visit all of them in one outing, so after breakfast we drove first to Muranda Cheese at Waterloo.  Muranda is located on their neatly-kept family run dairy farm at 3075 Rte 96 south of Waterloo and features seven flavors of Cheddar cheese made of raw milk from their "world famous" Registered Holstein cows.  While we were there, several members of the Corvair Club arrived in their 1960's era Chevrolet Corvairs, which added an interesting photo op to the tasting experience. 

Then it was on to Lively Run Goat Dairy at 8978 County Rd. 142, Interlaken.  Our young host said that at one time their family farm had 120 milking goats, but it became impossible to continue operating at that level.  Presently they have 15 producing animals and purchase milk from other producers, but they plan to increase their own herd to about 40 milking does in the near future.  Goat cheese texture and flavor varies with the aging process, and Lively Run offers products at all stages and in various flavors including bleu cheese. In addition, they offer goat milk soap made from olive oil, goats milk and organic oatmeal - and of course I just had to have some. 

The scenery along Schuyler County Rtes. 227 and 228 was spectacular in its fall colors as we traveled through Trumansburg and Mecklenburg to the quaint facility of Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese.  It is located on a now rare old-fashioned dirt road named Bergen Rd. , after its destination.  Inside the facility, we could watch the cheese making process from the tasting room through a large picture window while our guide explained some of the differences between the cheeses and the fine points of cheesemaking.  The scenery around and the view from their homestead hill alone were worth the trip, but there is where I purchased my own particular favorite cheese, Red Meck (named after Mecklenberg). 

Traveling along Rte 79 W to State Rte 14 S through Watkins Glen and on to Odessa, our destination was Sunset View Creamery at 4970 County Rd 14.  This farm, a Century Farm belonging to the Hoffman family since 1905, affords a spectacular view of the hill country south of Seneca Lake.  The Sunset View Store offers several kinds of Cheddar, Cheddar curd and Monterey Jack cheeses and carries a variety of uniquely flavored ground coffee, dessert mixes, fudge and assorted gift items.  It was interesting to note what a small world it truly is.  Our Twin-Steeples Farm in East Palmyra has something in common with Sunset View Creamery - there are old churches within a hundred yards of the main barns on both farms. 

It is impossible to follow the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail without passing numerous wineries along the way - and yes, of course we stopped at a couple of them.  The only drawback of visiting the wineries at that time was the traffic both on the road and in the tasting rooms.  However, it was the journey and not the destination since the scenic views, golden sunshine, clearest blue skies and warm temperatures more than made up for any manmade inconveniences. 

While riding along the Cheese Trail, I couldn't help wondering if something like that couldn't be extended into Wayne County to include Helluva Good Cheese and maybe some of our smaller dairies that might consider the value-added business of making cheese or some other milk-based product.  Wayne County has such a wealth of fertile soil, scenery, deversified population and untapped resources that it would not surprise me if sometime in the near future someone here develops a brand new idea and a "tourist trail" follows.

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