A Cheesy NY History

An interesting history of cheesemkaing in NYS! from http://www.mccadam.coop/history.php

New York State has been a dominant cheese-producing state since the 19th century. The Erie Canal facilitated exportation of the State’s cheese, thereby making New York State cheesemaking not only popular but prosperous. Only a handful of yesterday’s cheese producers have stood the test of time. The McCadam Cheese Company is one of them — today, over 100 years later, McCadam’s New York State Cheese is still being enjoyed by cheese lovers.

The first cheeses were made in the farm kitchen. Wheels weighing from 30 to 100 lbs. were formed, coated in butter to prevent evaporation and placed in cool cellars to cure. When ready, the finished cheeses were stacked onto wagons and pulled by oxen to a loading place on the canal.

The barges, piled high and colorfully with an assortment of white, yellow and orange cheeses, were pulled by mule along the towpath destined for New York City and distribution. Some were sold locally, some were bound for Europe, and the rest made their way to different parts of a rapidly growing America. (During the 8 years Andrew Jackson was president of the United States, he made sure he always had plenty of his favorite New York State Cheese on hand to serve his White House guests; he periodically ordered 2,000 lb. wheels!)

The distinctive, unsurpassed quality of New York State Cheese did not happen by accident. Cheese-makers labored to become adept at their craft and when their skill proved successful, their methods were carefully guarded and handed down from generation to generation.


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