Today we meet Dorothy Frye of Pleasant Lane Farms.
The Creamery at Pleasant Lane Farms is located in Latrobe, PA
The Frye’s have been in the dairy business since 1795. We have a herd of 40 milking Holstein cows. We use their milk to make our cheese. Our cheese is made on our farm, thus making our cheese farmstead.
Several years ago we started the transition to make cheese, but we started in earnest at the beginning of the pandemic (in April 2020). We first started selling Colby and cheese curds. We now sell an 8-week and 8-month Gouda, Colby, cow’s milk feta, secret pizza cheese, quark, medium cheddar, jalapeño habanero cheddar, buffalo ranch cheddar, roasted garlic cheddar, and our 1 year aged 1795 cheddar.
We are a small family business. My husband, Jason, is in charge of running the business and making cheese. He helps with the farm work when he can. I package cheese and do the farmers’ markets. My brother-in-law, Todd, does a good bit of the farm work. My father-in-law, Ralph, does local deliveries and farm work. We also have 2 assistant cheesemakers and several other people helping to pack cheese. Our farm is extremely busy!
Our first batch of 1795 cheddar was sold in June. Our 1795 cheddar is our bold and sharp cheese. It is crumbly, creamy, and has cheese crystals. This cheddar has been a big hit and we have been selling out most months. We were only able to make 4 blocks at a time with our 2,000 pound Vat. We acquired an additional 3,000 pound Vat in February. We now can do a double make in one day and make 12 blocks of cheese during a day.
For the holidays, we are making cranberry cheddar and onion-and-chive cheddar. This November customers will be able to create a build-your-own cheese box. We have paired up with other local businesses and farms to offer a diverse cheese box with accouterments.
I am new to this market. I started selling cheese at Bellevue in September. The customers listen well and are apt to try something new each time they see me. I am new to Western PA. (I married into this family). I enjoy going to farmers’ markets — it lets me explore the area.