As if we needed another reason to visit the barns, green pastures, micro distilleries and grape vines of Weston, Green Dirt Farm has added a creamery.
Founded in 2002, Green Dirt Farm is known for its award-winning sheep’s milk cheeses and annual series of farm table chef dinners that typically sell out in minutes when announced each spring.
The creamery opens June 4 in a quaint stone building at 1099 Welt St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
One-half of the creamery will function as a tasting room for TerraVox wines made with American heritage grapes by Vox Vineyards. The other half is set up with a production kitchen and cold storage display to feature the Green Dirt catalog of cheeses.
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The creamery, which works with area Amish farmers, will also sell yogurt, organic ice cream and sandwiches ranging from a simple PB&J made with fresh cheese, seasonal jam and nut butter on Farm to Market Bread ($6) to lamb and pork pate and dilly pickles on bread ($9.50) by Hearth Baking Co., a Weston bakery across the highway at 17995 Route 45 N.
Also on the menu, sheep’s milk grilled cheese sandwiches for $6 to $6.50 on a variety of breads, with add-ons such as prosciutto, smoked ham and roast turkey for $2, pickled tomatoes for $1.
Patrons can order from a menu of charcuterie boards for $12 or put together anything from the case to create their own charcuterie board for $4 per ounce. Green Dirt cheese selections include fresh chevre, as well as Dirt Lover, Prairie Tomme, Vagabond, Wooly Rind, Tuffet and Bossa.
“I’ve had my eye on (the space) because it solves so many problems for us,” says owner/cheesemaker Sarah Hoffmann, who discovered the property six years ago when it was used as a winery/lawyer’s office.
The additional space allowed for more production and adding a retail creamery was “serendipitous and a natural evolution of things,” she says.
Hoffmann has hired Pat McCroy to be her retail manager and cheesemonger. McCroy previously worked at Pastoral Cheese, Bread & Wine and Standard Market in Chicago.
“I’ve known Sarah’s work for a long time,” he says.
“It was basically kismet that I landed here,” McCroy says.
Although the ice cream chest freezer offers vanilla, chocolate, dark chocolate and coffee, butter pecan, mint and celementine thyme flavors, McCroy admits “I’m a vanilla and creme faiche guy, especially when I’m measuring quality. When I want to figure what cheese is all about, I go and taste the simplest thing, like plain, fresh chevre.”
Green Dirt’s expansion is designed to make the company sustainable for the long term: “The thing that I’m really passionate about is to make small-batch, handcrafted food,” Hoffmann says. “That’s more important to me than being a cheesemaker.”
“In a perfect world I would focus on cheese, but I realized if I wanted the business to survive and thrive I had to get out of the cheese kitchen and do the business side and make sure the farm side is working,” Hoffmann says.