Abbe Turner is a hard woman to keep up with. As we walk through the pasture on which her goats graze she points out heirloom apple trees full with blossoms scattered amongst the plain and describes the flavors of all the delicious apples they harvest each year.
Before I can even finish absorbing what an apple that tastes "just like a glass of Chardonay" may be like, she spots some edible Johnny Jump-up flowers that she says can be a nice addition to chevre. Almost instantly, she’s on one knee in her big rubber boots pulling up some for me to try (pretty, but didn’t taste like much).
Strolling through her farm, she talks about how important local food is to her, what it means to be a artisan producer, the challenges that come with it, but most importantly, how much she loves being a part of this movement. All with a youthful exuberance that you’d never expect from someone that only sleeps 4 hours a night and is barely 3 months into opening an business.
But that’s Abbe. Very early on in meeting her it’s clear that she’s filled with an unending passion accompanied with a vision as to how she wants to share that passion with the rest of the world. For Abbe Turner, that is through her cheese.
To Love a Goat
Great cheese comes from loved goats. From morning to night, the goats on the Lucky Penny Farm are loved and cared for to produce the best tasting milk for superior cheeses. Even the types of goats they use are the result of careful decision making based on the qualities of the milk each produces. The farm has Nubian, La Mancha and Alpine Dairy goats, the milk from all of which is mixed to make a truly unique product you won’t find anywhere else. (Although I must note that the La Mancha goats kinda creeped me out, I mean, just look at em.)
Everything for these goats is done right here on their farm in little Garrestville, Ohio, from growing the hay for feed to milking. And it’s all done naturally, without any chemicals or pesticides, so you don’t have to worry about any of that crap being in your cheese. It’s probably a lot more work that way, but they believe their dividends are paid in higher quality cheese.
An Urban Creamery
23 miles away from the Lucky Penny Farm, in Downtown Kent, is the creamery where their beautiful goats milk it transformed into the creamiest goat cheeses I’ve ever eaten. The creamery is currently producing the classic chevre cheese along with a briny feta and plans for expansion into other types of cheeses and candies are already on paper.
Downtown Kent, in an old, run-down Union hall is about the last place in the world you’d expect to find an artisanal creamery, but after months of hard work the urban creamery is now living and breathing. The building will soon be home to a retail center where you can buy artisan cheeses from all over the country as well as other specialty food products.
The creamery is also providing a valuable service to other small scale farmers. As you can imagine, building a creamery from the ground up is not an inexpensive endeavor, as a result many small farmers can’t process their milk for cheese and end up just selling their milk off. The Lucky Penny Creamery is providing an outlet for those farmers to have their milk processes into cheese so that they too can have a cheese business, or use it for their own consumption.
Where to buy Lucky Penny Farm Cheese
If you’re interested in trying Lucky Penny Cheese in Northeastern Ohio it is available for retail purchase at the Mustard Seed Market and many local farmers markets so be sure to keep an eye out for it. You can also find Lucky Penny Cheese at some of Cleveland’s finest restaurants like The Greenhouse Tavern and Fire.
The retail store in Kent at the creamery should be open in the next month if you’re interested in going to the source. I would also recommend whether it’s at a market or your favorite restaurant, that you request Lucky Penny Farm Creamery cheeses by name, not only will you help out a great local business, but you’ll be doing something good for the advancement of local food in Northeastern Ohio.
Lucky Penny Farm Creamery