WILLIAMSBURG, Pa. — Clover Creek Cheese Cellar, owned by the Dave and Terry Rice family, is part of their Ojala Farm, located near Williamsburg. The farm’s dairy cows are grassfed and moved frequently to fresh pasture. Livestock is given plenty of individual attention and care. The family works hard to reduce stress in the herd to keep the cows healthy and as antibiotic-free as possible. The result is a top-notch, artisan, cow’s milk cheese that assisted the Rice family in bringing home a Pennsylvania Farm Show prize earlier this month.
The 126-acre Ojala Farm, with about 50-70 head of dairy, has had a license to sell raw milk since the early 2000s. It sells from Clover Creek Cheese Cellar directly to consumers and a few local stores.
The family’s cheese production started as a way to sell what they felt was a higher-quality milk for the price the family felt it was worth. According to Dave and Terry Rice’s son, Anthony Rice, they felt that milk companies paid no more for high-quality milk than for average milk. At first, seeking an additional outlet for their milk, Dave, Terry and Anthony Rice put their heads together. They considered producing yogurt or ice cream and decided that both would have a higher price tag, but a very short shelf life. So, they decided cheese was the answer. Cheese stored properly gets better with age and could be sold in larger nearby cities like Lancaster or Pittsburgh. It is a product desired by chefs in fine restaurants and by customers looking for better-quality foods.
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