We’ve previously discussed the renaissance in Southern cheesemaking, made more noteworthy for taking place in a region not historically associated with dairy. With makers like Meadow Creek, Manyfold Farm, Caromont Farm, Goat Lady Dairy, Sequatchie Cove Creamery and many more, and new ones popping up every year, the region is quickly occupying an ever-increasing share of cheese counters across the country. 

Now we have another promising producer to add to the list. Above is the Cottonseed, from Boxcarr Handmade Cheese, located in Cedar Grove, NC. Owned by first-generation farmers and Austin Genke and his wife Dani, and Austin’s sister Samantha, they have operated since 2009 on 30 acres of mixed use land, with vegetables, pigs, chickens and goats, a catering company and even a food truck. They broke ground in 2014 on a creamery and began cheesemaking in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Milk is currently sourced from neighboring farms, with the Jersey and Holstein cow’s milk coming from one and Alpine, Nubian and Sannen goat’s milk from another.

They describe their line as being “inspired by the small country farmsteads of Italy”, and with their own Italian roots, and the help of a local “formaggiaia” Alessandra Trompeo, they are producing cheeses that evoke the classic cheeses of italy.

The Cottonseed, the only one I’ve had the chance to try so far, is a Scimudin-inspired, mixed cow and goat’s milk square. The rind is pale pink, with a white frosting, and pillowy to the touch; cutting it open reveals a silky, oozing paste that spills out of the rind as it warms. Flavors are milky, rich and grassy, a bit briny and mushroomy.

I hope to sample the Rosie’s Robiola soon, as I’m always on the lookout for domestically produced robiola-style cheeses! They also have a cheese named Lissome, which they describe as “a beautiful love-child of Tallegio and Havarti”, which has me intrigued.  

Purchased at Bedford Cheese Shop.