Yoav Perry is extremely enthusiastic about cheese. You’d have to be to do what he’s doing in Olde Kensington right now: In a reclaimed shipping container inside a raw production space on Hancock Street, Perry is busy separating curds from whey, ladling fresh cheese into molds, and flavoring drinkable yogurts and whey “tonics” with salted caramel and pistachio. With his forthcoming creamery, Perrystead Dairy, Perry will join a robust community of cheese people in Pennsylvania, eager to do justice to the commonwealth’s dairy history.
In making his cheeses, yogurts, and kefir, which will be available for purchase this spring, Perry will only work with local dairy farms in the surrounding counties, like Montgomery and West Chester. That decision is motivated by what Perry calls a “disaster” in Pennsylvania dairy farming. “We went from [being] the number four state in dairy production to number seven in a matter of three years,” Perry says, partially due to changing diets and partially due to declining dairy prices. When restaurants were closed last year due to the COVID-19 crisis, many dairy farmers were forced to dump their milk.
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