Cheese, cheese and yum, even more cheese than you can imagine! This is what my family and I encountered on our way back from the Smoky Mountains. I noticed a billboard along the interstate for Sweetwater Valley Farmstead located in Philadelphia, TN, just outside Knoxville-home of the University of TN. The billboard touted tours so I thought this might turn into a learning experience for us city folk.
When we arrived at the farm and got out of the car, the aroma was quite overwhelming. Remember, we are city people so the cow fragrance was not one we were accustomed to (nor do I want to be) and being the mature adult that I am, I joined the kids in gasping for fresh air and plugging our noses as we were whining and screaming "eeewwwwww" while racing to the retail store. Once inside we could once again fill our lungs with fresh air and focus on the wonderful cheeses.
The first thing that caught my eye was the big glass window behind the cheese case that housed the production area. I was excited to see how this worked, however, either they weren't producing that day or the area had already been shut down. As I browsed the cheese case, I hear the kids getting excited because they have found the table with the samples! A table was set up with Tupperware looking containers that I bet housed 25 different cheeses. I was ready to dive in with the other customers who were tasting. I must admit that I had to taste some of the cheeses a couple times because I had tasted so much that they all started to just flow together. Of course, my family and I all liked a different cheese, some of us more than one, so we proudly made our purchase of eight different varieties to tote the three hours or so back home.
Sweetwater Valley Farm also offered jam and jellies, local t-shirts and some other gift options. Another attraction to the farm is their dairy farm tour. A short video is viewed before the tour and then the staff will gladly escort you to the barns to show you how cheese goes from cow to store. The tour takes about an hour and we didn't really have the time for it that visit. Maybe next time we go through to the mountains I will bring my nose plug and see how the local dairy farm actually works.