Glimpses of yellow and orange flashed through forests of green while carefully navigating my little Kia Rio rental car along Western North Carolina’s winding US-19. (Well, it’s winding compared to flat Florida roads.) Fall was on its way into Western North Carolina and I was fortunate to see a hint of the season. My destination was Mountain Farm in Burnsville, a stop in the new Western North Carolina Cheese Trail.
Established earlier this summer, the WNC Cheese Trail links together artisan cheese and farmstead producers with a goal of promoting the production and sale of regional artisan cheeses as well as enhancing tourism and educating consumers. The trail sounds right up my alley: new and serves up local flavor.
Visiting the Farm on Top of the Mountain
Having just landed at the Asheville Airport and needing to get back to a conference in Johnson City, Tenn., I decided to make the most of my trip by visiting Mountain Farm, as it was in the (relatively) right direction, just a hair over an hour’s drive. The cheese trail is so new, I was the farm’s first trail visitor, or at least someone who stated the cheese trail led them there. Membership is building and not all cheesemakers let visitors into their operation (primarily because they are small) but Mountain Farm is one that does. In addition to making cheese, it’s a blueberry, lavender and goat dairy farm.
The farm’s small herd of goats provides the milk used for soaps and cheeses. There were only two wedges of cheese left for sale during my visit and I ended up purchasing Pinnacle, a hard cheese with a strong flavor, but no musty-goat taste. In addition to goats, see sheep, llamas, and other farm animals.
Different varieties of lavender grow on the farm between June and September and its harvested for bath and spa products and the farm’s culinary line. (Such as smokey salt with lavender – which TSA felt inclined to test during my return trip home.) In season, visitors are invited to cut their own lavender and blueberries. Each Father’s Day Weekend, Mountain Farm hosts the Lavender Festival and throughout the year, the farm offers workshops and events.
Looking for a sweet little cottage in the Appalachian Mountains? The farm rents Blueberry Cottage May through October. The cozy cottage comfortably sleeps up to eight people.
Visiting Mountain Farm, Burnsville, N.C.
“Adorable” summarizes Mountain Farm. Located just northeast of Asheville, it offers plenty to do and a reason to return. The owners are lovely and friendly and maybe it’s the lavender in the air, but it just seems extremely peaceful and Zen-like. Visit the farm Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cute store sells homemade goat soaps (get the ones infused with the farm’s lavender), honey, seasoning, cheese and other items.
The farm is open to the public the first Saturday of the month and during select events. Check their calendar of events for happenings.
3001 Halls Chapel Road
Burnsville, NC 28714