The Pleasant Lane Farms quark variety was one of the great cheeses at this year’s Pennsylvania Farm Show, winning a first-place ribbon in this weekend’s competition.
The cheese spread produced in the Unity dairy farm’s creamery was rated the best in the soft cheese category on Saturday. Pleasant Lane Gouda took second place in the combined category for semi-hard, semi-hard and hard cheeses.
“This is the first year we’ve been able to compete,” said Jason Frye, co-owner of the family farm. “We were eager to have our cheeses competed to see how things stack up.
“We are very excited to place these products and we are very proud to help represent Western Pennsylvania. “
In addition to the blue and red ribbons, the Fryes left with valuable comments on their entries.
“You get ratings from the judge on what they like and don’t like,” Frye said. The 5 pound sample of cottage cheese was described as having “good smoky flavor” and “good mouthfeel”.
At least one judge was disappointed to miss the full flavor of Pleasant Lane Gouda.
Due to commitments to filling orders from area restaurants, Frye said, the family only had a 10-pound wheel of gouda aged for eight weeks. “Next year we hope to bring a more mature sample to the farm show,” he said.
The Fryes, who started making cheese on their farm in April 2020, plan to enter seven varieties of cheese in an American Cheese Society competition, to be held this summer in Oregon.
Jason Frye’s son, Conrad, 11, was among those who accepted the ribbons at the state show. This is only fair since the boy helps run the dairy shop on Saturdays and arranges tours for visitors. “He knows a bit more about our cheese,” his father said.
During the show, the Frye enjoyed chatting with other dairy farmers at Calving Corner, sponsored by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation. Jason Frye is a member of the foundation’s board of directors, which supports educational programs and resources for future dairy farmers, leaders and consumers.
“Conrad would love to volunteer there when he’s older,” his father said.
The State Farm Show runs through Jan. 15 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $ 15 in the agricultural exhibition lots.