Raw Milk, Pasture-Raised Pennsylvania Farmstead Cheese with Rich Rosenberg, Buyer of All Things Raw

I love raw milk cheeses, not just because of the fresh flavor and healthful benefits (enzymes and nutrients like calcium), but because they are known for coming from unusually healthy, well-cared-for animals. Plus, they are super aromatic and taste insanely good. That said, it is a real treat to find local Pennsylvania raw milk cheeses made with milk from purely pasture-fed cows — the ultimate in natural.

Nestled in the peaceful Potter County hills near the small town of Ulysses is God's Country Creamery — a haven for authentically artisan raw milk cheeses. Family owned and operated for four generations, this small farm dairy not only crafts handmade, raw milk cheeses, but they maintain a unique relationship with their cows that (who?) play a personal role in the farm's cheese-making craft.

Just ask Java, Sweetie, Bella, Brooke, Hildie, Loralyn, Serena, Tango, Havannah, Jingles, Josie, Hadley, Sophie and Andes. These are just a few of happy Holstein, Jersey and Brown Swiss breeds that produce the exceptional milk for God's Country.

Some say it's the fresh mountain spring water and lush green grazing grass that give the milk its noticeably fresh, sweet flavor. But, I think it has something to do with the kind treatment the cows receive (I know, I got a few welcoming licks from Sweetie and Java on my visit, and let me tell you, you can see it in their eyes!) Regardless, this clean, raw milk is the pivotal ingredient in every cheese God's Country makes — on their farm and in small batches — the very definition of artisan.

The following are two of my very favorites and I encourage you to stop by and give them a try. The best from Bessy, indeed!

Golden Harvest Gouda — Famed for its melt in your mouth, buttery texture and pleasantly mellow flavor, this mild cheese expresses a subtle nuttiness with cedar undertones. Aged about two months to bring odut its amazing natural raw milk flavors, it is not smoked and no coloring is added. Try melting this Gouda to showcase its collage of flavors in mac and cheese, a panini or omelet.

Hellish Havarti — This Havarti's distinction is its creaminess and sweetness surprisingly peppered with habañero and chipotle to give it it's "Hellish" character. The heat creeps up and leaves you devilishly delighted!