The inventory of cheese is small compared to many shops... only two dozen or so. But almost all of them are made from the creamery's own milk, from cows or sheep raised on their own farm.
Cheeses are produced in the room adjacent to the retail counter, so everything's fresh. Mozzarella is house-made several times a day, so the product you buy will only be a couple of hours old.
Manager Zeke Ferguson is familiar to Philadelphia foodies. He was on the staff at DiBruno's Italian Market store, carving out a niche for himself as their gourmet bacon expert. Now he's running the retail counter at Valley Shepherd Creamery.
Rebecca Foxman handles the shop's popular sandwich-making operation dubbed Meltkraft. You'll find a seasonally-changing menu of sandwiches built on artisan bread and featuring the store-made cheeses.
That's enough for most customers, but, if you like, you can shake things up by ordering duck fat instead of butter as the grilling agent, and maybe some bacon tucked in with the cheese.
Most sandwiches are grilled on a Panini press. There's also a creation on a French baguette featuring the mozzarella and fresh-sliced tomato.
Sandwiches range in price from about $6.50 to $10.00, depending on options. There's even a kids' grilled cheese served weekends only. Cheeses retail at prices ranging over $20.00 per pound, but remember that these are hand-crafted raw milk cheeses fresh-made on the premises in small batches. Nothing is mass-produced or stored very long.
It's the next-best thing to visiting a farm.
The farm and creamery is in Long Valley, N.J. You may visit their website at valleyshepherd.com, where you may read about tours. The Reading Terminal Market store's website is at http://valleyshepherd.com/our-stores/reading-terminal-market-store-menu and Meltkraft's menu is online at http://valleyshepherd.com/meltkraft-menu.
The Philly store opens daily at 9:00am and stays open until 6:00pm weekdays, 5:00pm on weekends. Chef Rebecca usually fires up her grills about 11:00am but often accommodates early sandwich buffs upon request.
For more information, you may also phone the store at 267-639-3309.