Helen studied cheesemaking at Cal Poly, where she learned how to make Monterey (of Monterey, California, get it) Jack-style cheese. So Appalachian was originally of this style. It's become more of a classic tomme style cheese over the years, with a natural rind.
The cheese ages anywhere from 60 days to 5 months. When I told the Feete's just how great their cheese is right now, they replied that what's out on retail counters right now is most likely in the 60-day range. If you can, get it now to taste how delicious a cheese made at the height of a Virginia summer can be. Each bite is lactic and bright, but also has that earthy intensity only found in cheeses that are cave-aged. While Grayson, the Meadowcreek cheese with a devoted following, takes on much of its personality from the b-linen bacteria growing on the rind, the Appalachian is designed more to showcase the milk, and therefore, the seasons.
Nora Singley is an avid lover of cheese, and for some time she was a Cheesemonger and the Director of the Cheese Course at Murray's Cheese Shop in New York City. She is currently an assistant chef on The Martha Stewart Show.
Related: Why Don't Pigs Make Cheese?
(Images: Nora Singley)