Nettle Meadow Farm & Cheese Company has had an exciting first quarter with multiple awards and a successful transition to their new and improved cheese plant in Lake Luzerne, New York.
Nettle Meadow’s Kunik, a trademarked cheese, has been named one of the top 20 cheeses in the world by the World Cheese Champion Contest, a bi-annual contest that takes place in Wisconsin with applicants and judges from around the world. Nettle Meadow received best in class wins for Kunik and Truffle Kunik at this championship and a third-place finish for their Simply Sheep cheese.
The competition featured 2,978 cheeses from around the world and was narrowed to the top 20 the best cheeses in the world on March 3, 2022 which included 11 European cheeses, 7 Wisconsin cheeses, 1 California cheese, and Kunik from New York State.
Owner and Cheesemaker, Sheila Flanagan, said “We are so elated at the recognition our team has received with this win. We all work so very hard to put out the best cheese imaginable and this kind of recognition makes all the effort and long days worth it.”
This win comes immediately on the heels of Nettle Meadow receiving its third Good Food Award for Kunik which was announced on January 14, 2022. “The Good Food Award is a cherished award among sustainable producers as it looks at the quality of your cheese AND the quality of the care you provide for the animals who produce the milk that goes into the cheese, the environment we live in and the many amazing craftspeople who put their heart into producing amazing cheeses like Kunik,” said Sheila Flanagan. These awards bring Nettle Meadow’s total state, national and international tally of significant wins to more than 40 in the last 17 years since owners Sheila Flanagan and Lorraine Lambiase have been at the healm.
The creamery just completed its move to Lake Luzerne last month, moving into the newly renovated Hitching Post which is an iconic log structure built as a dining hall, tavern and hotel during the 1930’s Dude Ranch Era in the area. The new cheese plant will allow the company to expand production at least four-fold. Nettle Meadow’s retail store and Tasting Room/Tavern are currently open at the Lake Luzerne location as well.
Owners, Sheila Flanagan and Lorraine Lambiase, chose the new location after a long search for a new building in late 2019 and completed the purchase of the Hitching Post location in early March 2020, just before the beginning of the Pandemic. “We were motivated by the trajectory of our sales growth” said Flanagan, explaining that Nettle Meadow has had 17 years of sustained growth in sales and that the tiny 1750 square foot plant had become far too small for continued growth. “With the efficiencies built into the new plant and the location which is closer to our distribution hubs, our growth potential seems almost limitless,” Flanagan continued.
Flanagan and Lambiase have always made big moves with an eye towards historical preservation and appreciation for the past, and the Hitching Post Building afforded the company eight times the square footage of their current plant AND the opportunity to restore an iconic structure that had been an architectural jewel of the area in the mid Twentieth century.
No one could have predicted the challenges that lay ahead during this expansion as the pandemic drove the prices of construction materials up while making good construction and technical assistance scarce at best. These challenges slowed the time frame of the completion of the project but the new plant is both beautiful and state of the art with many built-in efficiencies and the new location also offers a lovely retail shop showcasing Nettle Meadow cheeses, local artisans and gourmet accompaniments as well as a Tasting Room Tavern that offers American Artisan Beer & Wine, cheese boards, and other menu offerings featuring Nettle Meadow’s more than 45 varieties of artisan cheese.
Originally founded as a goat farm in 1990, Nettle Meadow has since grown to a goat, sheep, and cow dairy and farm animal sanctuary with national and international acclaim for their mixed milk cheeses. The farm and some of the company’s aging caves are located in Thurman just below Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks. Nettle Meadow is committed to the principles of natural ingredients, happy and healthy animals, and carefully hand-crafted artisan cheeses.
Nettle Meadow is best known for their semi-aged cheeses but also have a line of washed rind hard cheeses as well as several varieties of soft fresh cheeses including chevre, fromage blanc, a mixed milk fromage frais and fresh cow’s milk cheese. For more information regarding Nettle Meadow, their animals and their cheeses, please visit their website at www.nettlemeadow.com.