There’s more than one way to get to know Valley Shepherd Creamery. You can find their artisanal cheeses, yogurt and fresh butter in grocery stores, specialty shops, farmers’ markets and restaurants across the state. But arguably, the better way is to go straight to the source for a tour.
Located in scenic Long Valley, Valley Shepherd (50 Fairmount Road) is home to flocks of sheep and goats, which you’ll see grazing in pastures on breezy autumn days. The 120-acre farm holds fall tours at 1 and 3:30 pm every Saturday and Sunday through mid–November; tours last for about an hour.
Begin your visit in the Sheep Shoppe, where you can buy tour tickets (reservations required for groups over 20), and sample a bite of cheese while you wait. The tour begins with an instructional video about how cheese is made. The fun follows. Take a peek in the barns, where you might see the animals feeding. Depending on the schedule, you might also grab a glimpse of the milking parlor for a live look into the cheesemaking process.
Raw milk from the farm’s sheep, goats and cows (the latter are housed on another farm in Hunterdon County) is used to make 24 different traditional European-style cheeses, including the creamy and vegetal Crema de Blue, and Oldwick Shepherd, an aged sheep-milk cheese made in the French Pyrenees tradition. You get to sample these and many others before boarding a hay wagon for a ride up to the Old World cheese-aging cave. From there, take in views of fall foliage around the farm and beyond.
When you’re finished with the tour at Valley Shepherd, head down the street for a pint at Long Valley Pub & Brewery (1 Fairmount Road), or dive into a seafood dinner at the historic Chesapeake Tavern (1 W Mill Road).Click here to leave a comment