Chapel Hill Creamery’s story began in 2000 in the Piedmont region of Portia and Flo’s home state, North Carolina. With over 20 years experience in the food-retail industry, Portia and Flo decided to follow their passion of cheesemaking. But not just cheesemaking. They wanted to make cheese from the milk of their very own herd of cows. So by 2001, after acquiring a herd of nine Jersey cows and beautiful pastures close to Chapel Hill, they began selling their very first batch of handcrafted artisan cheese at the local farmers’ market!
We now milk 30 Jersey cows. But why Jerseys? In addition to their beautiful eyes, they produce rich, creamy milk and can handle our hot North Carolina summer climate well. Each cow has her own distinct personality and they name each one! They ensure a low-stress environment for the cows – their comfort and well-being is paramount: good pasture access and proper handling of calves and adult cows help to keep the herd healthy and happy. Grass is a primary food, supplemented by grain and hay for good nutrition. They grow a mixture of cool and warm season grasses in order to maximize the number of grass days per year, and practice an intensive rotational grazing system: moving the herd to different strips of pasture allows the grass to grow back to a height that is most nutritious for livestock and improves the soil.
Chapel Hill Creamery milks and makes cheese year-round. They’re classified as a farmstead cheesemaking facility, meaning that they use milk only from their own herd and not from any other sources. Their delicious Farmhouse Cheese is hand-crafted in small batches, producing 6 to 8 different varieties from fresh to aged.
They also raise heritage-breed pigs on whey. Whey is a by-product of the cheesemaking process – it’s high in nutrients and gives the pork a tender texture. They sell flavorful pork sausages at local farmers’ markets.