Washed Rind: Edgewood Creamery’s Ozark Mountain Blue

The Ozark Mountain Blue cheese at Edgewood Creamery in Purdy, Missouri, is more of a milder blue, but that’s what makes it so popular. “Many people say [they] don’t like blue cheese, but [they] like our blue cheese because it’s not quite so strong – you can taste the cheese around the blue,” says co-owner Melissa Fletcher. Fletcher, who opened the creamery in August 2015 with her husband, Charles, has been making Ozark Mountain Blue since the beginning. The Fletchers’ herd of cross-bred cattle is grass-fed on the 260-acre dairy farm, which they run with their children, bottling non-homogenzied cream-line milk. The “girls,” as the Fletchers lovingly call their pasture-raised cows, produce milk for the full-fat, yellow-hued blue cheese; after about a half a day spent processing the cheese (culturing, draining, etc.), it’s aged for three to four months. The result is a nutty, dense blue with salt and a little spice.

“We make about 140 pounds [of Ozark Mountain Blue] every week,” Fletcher says, noting that she expects to “double up” on that number in 2017 thanks to increased distribution, including in Kansas City; Joplin, Missouri; and northwest Arkansas. It’s also used at Farmer’s Gastropub, Metropolitan Farmer and The Order in Springfield, Missouri.

You can tour the farm and creamery in Purdy, which includes a farm store, and watch the cheese being made. Other Edgewood products include cloth-bound Cheddar (mild and sharp); fromage blanc, a chef favorite; and cheese curds. “[It’s] very hands-on, handcrafted, artisanal cheese,” Fletcher says. “People want to know where their food comes from and they enjoy seeing the process. That’s really been a neat thing for us to do.” (Photo by Jonathan Gayman)

Edgewood Creamery, 5888 Farm Road 1090, Purdy, Missouri, 417.442.3010, edgewoodcreamery.com