Who likes cheese? We like cheese. There’s no better cheddar cheese than what’s coming out of Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, TN. On a recent visit we got to watch the process, see the cows and taste some cheese curds. Mary Lyndal Harrison, marketing director, showed us all of the things including a sneak peek at the cows’ new digs.
The property was settled in the 1800’s and was granted to General William Ballard Lenoir. It became a dairy farm in the early 19th century and has been that since. John and Celia Harrison purchased the property in 1987 continuing the tradition of the dairy farm. It wasn’t until 1998 that they decided to diversify and produce the cheeses they are known for today.
They send the majority of their milk to Mayfield Dairy but they keep enough around to produce about 400,000 pounds of cheese per year. That’s no typo, that’s a lot of milk coming out of their farm! This year SVF is expanding and building Tennessee’s first Lely XL robotic milking parlor. On this new system 500 cows will be allowed to milk on their terms. The Harrison’s will open back up for tours once the parlor is complete.
Sweetwater Valley Farm produces cheddar cheese and gouda. They add natural flavors to offer customers and restaurants a variety of options. They have some aged options with the Reserve being 2 years right now. The youngest cheese is 3 months. Be sure to look for the fresh cheese curds if you go out to the farm store for a visit! If you ask nicely, Mary Lyndal may fry some up for you.
The farm store sits proudly on a hill adjacent to the Harrison’s beautiful home. There you can sample all of the cheeses, buy some to take home and shop through the array of other local products. You can even pick up some farm swag!
We loved our visit to Sweetwater Valley Farm! They will begin offering farm tours again this Spring where visitors will get to watch the milking process on the new robotic system. Please visit, see some cows, taste some cheese and take some home! Oh, and don’t forget to give Belle, the farm dog, a pat on the head!