- Origin: Washington Crossing, PA
- Milk: Raw Cow
- Style: Semi-Firm Wax Rind
- Smells: Fresh Milk, Apricot
- Texture: Marzipan
- Taste: Quince, Hot Milk, Leather, Hay, The Sea
- Finish: Toffee, Salted Butter
Oh where to begin…well if you are ever feeling down and out near the Delaware River in the great United States simply pop by the Ely Farm. A seventh generation farm run by Dwight and his bride Susan who pour their hearts into every sausage, pasture, and wheel of cheese. Expect a boisterous “Praise The Lord!” about every 15-30 minutes paired with the grandest of smiles, no matter what you believe his vigor for life is intoxicating. Dwight has been making cheese now for about ten years crafting several styles as he meddled with natures grand fermentation dance. Mentored by his friend Neville McNaughton, the cheese doctor out of New Zealand, in addition to several trips to the Alps whose archaic methods helped him hone in his craft. These insights lead Dwight to make a wash rind alpine style cheese called Makefield, Ely Farm Cheese a colby-style reminiscent of its fresh-milk beginnings, and of course Washington Crossing. In 2012 his hard work and love for cheese won him recognition in the American Cheese Society competition. Washington Crossing placed second in the American made Gouda class, yet in my opinion is much closer to an alpine cheese. Whether young or aged this beauty portrays the dynamic farm beautifully with gentle notes of quince, the sea, melted butter, finishing with a picante bite that pairs just swimmingly with any jam. For each cheese, raw Jersey cow milk arrives in 9,000 pound batches from a cooperative in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The farmer is a great family friend, but in this family near everyone is treated like such. Typically produced in the late summer months each twenty pound wheel of Washington Crossing bathes in salt for seventy-two hours, after the cultures have been added by Dwight and his son. Once cultured the wheels are then settled in their hoops, allowed time to drain and set, then placed on wooden boards. This cheese wears a wax rind painted on to inhibit unwanted mold turning each wheel golden yellow. Now, each golden tomme sits relaxing in the cool aging rooms while the weather torrents outside for about a year. While the cheese takes a load off the affineur goes to work turning and flipping each wheel to perfection. I emphasis this duty for it has been my pleasure and challenge to do just that…flip and paint each wheel of cheese this past autumn. As my first hands on cheese job it has been quite marvelous.
Clear your schedule, call a pal, grab a favorite book, to take a drive down to the historic battlegrounds of the Revolutionary war. Only to be blessed by the Ely farm leaving you with a beaming smile, a hunk of their finest cheese, and marvelous freshly smoked kielbasa.