Good Shepherd

At old-time creamery, it’s all about the cheese.

Think a trip to Valley Shepherd Creamery is all about the sheep? Bah! This time of year, it’s all about the cheese. Located on 120 acres in Long Valley, the old-fashioned creamery hosts the Autumn Leaves Artisan Cheese Festival on October 2, rain or shine.

“This promises to be the cheesiest day ever in New Jersey,” jokes creamery owner Eran Wajswol. “With whey cool entertainment and ewe-nique events all day long.”

At Valley Shepherd, Wajswol and his wife, Debra, make twenty varieties of artisan cheeses, crafted from their hormone- and antibiotic-free sheep that feed on their pastures. Their Autumn Leaves festival features a variety of cheeses, including American Cheese Society award-winning varieties from New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, and more.

Festival-goers can also sample all-natural handcrafted specialty foods such as breads, chocolates, relishes, jams, honey, sauces, and gelato from Princeton’s Bent Spoon and from Valley Shepherd’s own fresh milk. To wash it all down, Unionville Vineyards and Flying Fish Brewery will provide libations. Taste what local chefs can do with artisanal cheese and pasta, or make your own sandwiches at the Cheesewich station.

Kids can enjoy the horse-drawn hay rides; play with the baby sheep, cows, goats, and alpaca; make a wooly sheep puppet; and get their faces painted. Educational opportunities abound, including wine, beer, and cheese-pairing tips, and a cow-to-cheese demonstration.

The festival runs 10 am to 4 pm, with free shuttles from the free parking lot at Long Valley Middle School. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-12, and free for children under 5. Valley Shepherd advises pre-ordering tickets online. 50 Fairmount Road, Long Valley (908-876-3200;

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