Organic cheeses are popping up on store shelves in a surprising variety of flavors. There’s a cheese for every occasion: a quick lunch, a gourmet picnic, an elegant party. Whether it’s from a small family dairy or produced on a large scale, certified-organic cheese is from cows and sheep that eat organically grown feed and are raised under healthy conditions without antibiotics or growth hormones. Here are some of our favorites.
Raw Milk Farmstead Cheddar
Maker:Neighborly Farms of Vermont
Taster’s Notes: Complex cheddar that’s slightly sharp without being overwhelming. Slightly crumbly texture reveals a hint of butter flavor.
Other Cheese by Neighborly Farms: Colby, feta, herbed cheddars, Monterey Jack
Red Hawk (soft-ripened)Maker:Cowgirl Creamery, California
Taster’s Notes: Earthy, full-flavored, triple-cream cheese that’s aged six weeks and washed in brine that tints the rind red-orange.
Other Cheese by Cowgirl Creamery: Mt. Tam (brie-like), Pierce Point (with herbs), St. Pat (in nettle leaves)
Taster’s Notes: Creamy and rich, sweet and nutty, this orange-rinded cheese is everything a Muenster should be.
Other Cheese by Organic Valley: Feta, mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, Swiss, Colby, Monterey Jack, grated Parmesan
Montasio five-month aged (Asiago-like)Maker:Samish Bay Cheese, Washington
Taster’s Notes: Subtle blend of delicate flavors in a mild, but complex, cheese. For a sharper taste, try the 15-month aged Montasio.
Other Cheese by Samish Bay Cheese: Gouda (aged and herbed), Mont Blanchard cheddar
Taster’s Notes: With just a touch of salt, this mild cheese is great for cooking. (The shredded variety is oh-so-convenient.)
Other Cheese by Horizon Organic: Colby, Monterey Jack, Swiss, cheddar, shredded Parmesan
Tarentaise (Swiss Alp style)Maker:Thistle Hill Farm, Vermont
Taster’s Notes: This firm cheese, aged at least five months, is smooth, nutty and mild with sweet caramel and maple undertones. Created according to French and Swiss Alp tradition.