Winterplace Farm and Creamery, Pomfret
Check this out: Winterplace’s Pub Cheese spread was a Gold Medal Award winner in the UK World Jersey Cheese Competition as a savory spread! And to think, you’ve never even heard of Winterplace Farm and Creamery in Pomfet! Congratulations to them!
(You know what’s coming, right? Jerk Steve, up to his old tricks…)
If you don’t know where Winterplace is, it can be tough to find. Signage is minimal and it doesn’t really look like a commercial venture when you’re driving past. Granted, they are young and finding their way. They’ve created a website since I visited in late 2020 and it looks like there will be semi-regular sales hours going forward. (And by the time you read this, they very well may have a giant sign and be open all the time.)
I happened to get lucky. I was enjoying some sips at the nearby Watercure Farm Distillery and the guy there told me about Winterplace after we discussed some of the local cheese he had for sale. He told me to give it a shot and maybe someone will be around to help me.
So I parked and wandered around a bit, saw some chickens, and lo! A woman appeared and was quite happy to see me. Even though they weren’t exactly open and I couldn’t see inside any of the buildings, she’d be happy to sell me some cheese – as you’d imagine she would be.
Which gives me another chance to note that there’s a very good reason I always carry cash, even as we continue to hurtle towards a cashless society. I wouldn’t have been able to buy cheese here without cash. And a tiny operation like Winterplace doesn’t want to deal with other methods when random dudes show up on a weekday afternoon to buy a bunch of cheese. Plus non-cash methods cost money and for tiny little operations like this, that’s just a hassle. Carry a few bucks, will ya?
I was mildly disappointed I wasn’t going to see the guts of the operation, but… I’m not sure why. Some stainless steel tables, some vats, some refrigerators… I didn’t miss anything.
The proprietor, who didn’t know the prices of anything and therefore I’m not exactly sure what her relationship to the cheese operation was, couldn’t have been nicer. And she was quite a saleswoman as well, pretty much selling me on the merits of every type of cheese they had available. In fact, she convinced me to buy one or two that, as it turned out, weren’t available. She was that good.
It is the mission of Winterplace Farm and Creamery, home to Jersey Cows’ milk dairy products, as well as premium Nubian Goats milk cheeses, to provide products which offer a more nutritious and better tasting alternative to current farmstead cheeses, offering the public a truly unique and exciting healthy alternative. Likewise, it is our mission to provide and promote the health benefits of All Jersey (trademark) raw milk and cheeses, and All Nubian goats milk cheeses. John Miller is the mastermind and developer of the brand “Jersey Maid” World Gold medal cheese as well as Goat Risings Internationally acclaimed award winning cheeses. It is John and his family’s intentions to continue marketing these award winning products locally and to expand markets within the Northeast and to other niche markets as well as continuing to build awareness in a small farmstead storefront as a means of education and revenue.
I’m not sure I understand any of that “healthier” stuff. Why do we need a “more nutritious” alternative to current farmstead cheeses? Many farmstead cheeses are phenomenal. Is anyone asking for healthy cheese? Anyway, Cheesemaker Miller has been making cheese for decades and here, every batch is made the old fashioned way with stirred slow vat pasteurization of the all-natural rich and creamy milk.
I didn’t get any of the goat’s milk cheeses and instead purchased five different cow’s milk cheeses. I think the woman may have thrown one extra in my pile now that I’m remembering. She really wanted me to try as much as possible to “spread the word” as the commercial operation was just getting off the ground. (Of course she was wholly unaware of this website.)
I got a few “pub cheeses” – essentially just soft cheese spreads. Winterplace offers several varieties, but I went with the “spiciest” two – wasabi and smoked chipotle. I was assured I would really feel the heat with these. I also wound up with some Farmers Cheese, a block of Pepper Jack cheddar, and some Roasted Chipotle Garlic curds. I was rather excited about all of this.
Once I got home, I piled up my haul for Hoang and she, too, was rather excited about all of this – immediately opening one of the pub cheeses and preparing to dig in.
Now, this is when most non-farmer, non-cheese expert writers would slap together a quick little paragraph thanking the cheese gods for awesome little roadside farm cheesemakers and call it a day. But remember back to the first couple of paragraphs above? The bit about me being a jerk after noting this place has won some random cheese award? Yeah…
Hoang was not a fan of any of the spreads. Or the cheddar. She liked the curds well enough, but didn’t exactly plow through them. I was a bit more forgiving in my opinion, though I can’t pretend all five cheeses were eaten in their entirety.
For one thing, we both struggled to find any heat in the wasabi spread. All the Winterplace cheese had a distinct… I dunno… complete lack of flavor to them. Was this because they were “healthy” cheeses? Because my wife and I are not familiar with what makes top quality farmstead cheeses? Perhaps. John Miller is a cheesemaker of some acclaim. Facebook reviews of his cheese are five-stars across the board. All five were eaten before their sell by dates.
But they just weren’t for us. Not a single one. And, for once, I’ll just leave it at that. You should absolutely still stop by next time you’re in Pomfret and try the cheeses for yourself, and not take my word for it. You see? I’m getting pub cheese soft in my old age.