Cheese. Love it or hate it…..okay, you probably love it. So what if I told you there is a special, dedicated trail that runs through some of the most scenic land in Massachusetts that will take you to all the best cheeses in the state? Are you in your car yet?
The Berkshire Farm & Table Cheese Trail is a cheese lover’s dream come true. This trail not only allows you to sample and buy cheese to take home, but to meet the animals and farmers responsible for creating all that salty, creamy and savory goodness. Learn about how cheese is made, and even watch the process in action.
It’s the perfect excuse to eat cheese all day, and experience some absolutely gorgeous scenery while you’re at it. Read on to learn more about how you can go on this incredible, self-guided journey yourself.
Note: You may want to tackle this cheese trail over the course of a long weekend.
1. Cricket Creek Farm, Williamstown
Your journey begins at Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown. It’s one of the oldest grass-based dairy farms in the region. Walk around the farm, visit the cows, pigs and chickens, and watch as the farmers go about their work. Pick up some raw milk or delicious, made-from-scratch bakery goods while you’re here. The farm shop is open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Recommended cheese: Maggie’s Round (sharp, raw cow’s milk cheese with citrus notes and a rustic rind) and the lavender-honey Cricket Creek Fresh (soft and spreadable, chèvre-like cheese). Address: 1255 Oblong Road | Williamstown, MA 01267.
2. Sangha Farm/Goat Rising, Plainfield
Next, head to Sangha Farm/Goat Rising in Plainfield. It’s a small, family farm that specializes in culinary herbs and pesticide-free farming. They’re actually working towards becoming oxen-powered. You should contact this place in advance for a visit. Once you’re there, spend some time hanging out out with the goats and sheep. Recommended cheese: Goat Cheese Truffles (chèvre dipped in Callebaut chocolate). Address: 134 West Hill Road | Plainfield, MA 01070.
3. Nudel Restaurant, Lenox
Time to take a break from the farms. Head to the Nudel Restaurant in Lenox to sample the bounty of local agriculture in a modern American bistro setting. This spot has been recognized by Food & Wine magazine for their commitment to natural ingredients and delicious flavor combos. Recommended cheese: the homemade Ricottta with High Lawn Farm milk from Lee. Address: 37 Church St, Lenox, MA 01240.
4. The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge
Next up is the historic Red Lion Inn. It’s been operating since 1773, and has been serving up amazing, classic New England fare for over 200 years. It’s the perfect place to break for the evening and catch a delicious and cheesy lunch the following day. Recommended cheese: the house-made Ricotta over gnudi with smoked tomato sauce. Address: 30 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA 01262.
5. Berkshire Blue Cheese, Great Barrington
The best way to get amazing cheese to go straight to the source. Berkshire Blue cheese is crafted by hand from small batches of milk that are picked up fresh from the morning milking at a nearby family dairy. Berkshire Blue doesn’t use any machinery in their cheesemaking, other than the necessary safety stuff and a strong set of arms. The cheese is individually inspected and hand-wrapped. Recommended cheese: the signature Berkshire Blue, of course. Note: though the cheese isn’t available for sale at this farm (check nearby shops), tours are available upon request. Address: 20 Crissey Road | Great Barrington, MA 01230.
6. Harvest Barn Bakery at Gould Farm, Monterey
Gould Farm was founded in 1913, and it's been churning out delicious, homegrown and homemade fare ever since. The farm maintains a community that offers opportunities for recovery and growth to residents with mental illness. An on-site commercial kitchen produces a huge variety of food products that help to fund the farm’s efforts. Residents learn about how the farm operates, enhance their own baking and food processing knowledge, as well as learn how to market natural products. For the cheese, head to the Harvest Barn Bakery at Gould Farm. Recommended cheese: the mild cheddar, paired with a swipe of Gould Farm’s delicious honey or maple syrup. Address: 54 Gould Road, Monterey, MA 01245.
7. Rawson Brook Farm, Monterey
As you near the end of the cheese trail, be sure to stop at Rawson Brook Farm. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but its the birthplace of Monterey Chèvre and an absolute hidden gem. The farm is open to visiors who want to check out the food production process. Visit around milking time to watch the cows do their work and buy fresh cheese. You can sample their amazing products right at the farm and at the self-serve store. Recommended cheese: the Monterey Chèvre (soft, fresh goat cheese that’s also available with thyme and olive oil, or chives with garlic). Address: 185 New Marlboro Road | Monterey, MA 01245.
8. John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant, South Egremont
The final stop on this savory journey is John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant. It’s perfect for lovers of classic American cuisine, though this place always incorporates some kind of creative twist on old favorites. Enjoy the cozy indoor fireplace during the cooler months, or relax with a drive on the outdoor terrace during the spring and summer. Recommended cheese: the house-made Ricotta, served over butternut squash, kale and sage brown butter sauce. Address: 224 Hillsdale Rd./Rt. 23, South Egremont, MA 01258.
For more information about the Berkshire Farm & Table Cheese Trail, check out their site
here. If you’re in the mood for another epic road trip, try tasting all the delicious offerings on our ultimate Massachusetts burger bucket list.