Escalon dairy farm graces the California Cheese Trail

Cheese, Please

It’s all in the family at Stuyt Dairy Farmstead. The Escalon-based creamery specializing in raw cow’s milk products is run by sisters Michelle and Anastasia Stuyt, after inheriting the operations from their parents.

            “We’re the third generation on this dairy,” Anastasia says. “Our grandfather, Art Stuyt, started this dairy in 1961.”

The farm’s offerings—sold at Lodi, Oak Park, Turlock, Ripon, Angels Camp, and Murphys Farmers Markets as well as local mom-and-pop stores, Nugget Market, and Save Mart locations from Sacramento to Turlock and available online direct to consumer—include a traditional raw milk cheese in mild, cumin, smoked, bacon, garlic herb, onion parsley, jalapeño, and habañero flavors; cheese curds; and a fresh spreadable cheese similar to cream cheese. Michelle, sales and marketing executive for Stuyt Cheese, says the fresh cheeses should be creamy, buttery, and melt in your mouth. The curds should squeak when you bite them.

“We also make Diamond Reserve, a raw milk cheese aged over nine months that ends with a rich butterscotch note. In addition, we have El Capitan, a Spanish raw milk cheese aged over four months that finishes with a pineapple flavor,” Michelle says. “In these two cheeses, look for the crystals. They show how the protein sets in the cheese.”

Michelle recommends pairing the spreadable cheese with items that have a snap, like fresh cucumber and bacon. The raw milk cheeses go well with wines of a similar nature. She suggests the jalapeño cheese with a spicy California Gewürztraminer.

Part of what makes their products stand out is the dedication to Dutch cheese-making techniques. The family’s knowledge of which dates back to World War II, when uncles on both sides made cheese in exchange for goods to help the family survive. Anastasia, the company’s cheesemaker, learned the craft from her father. She also took classes at Washington State University and the Dairy Training Centre in the Netherlands.

Since then, Anastasia has learned to experiment. “That’s how we came up with El Capitan. We started out with a small batch of five wheels. It’s now a big hit.”

Stuyt Dairy Farmstead Cheese Company

22000 Mariposa Rd., Escalon

(209) 918-5690

Visit Stuyt Dairy Farmstead Cheese Company

Stuyt Dairy Farmstead Cheese Company is open to visitors Monday through Friday, 8 AM-5 PM and weekends by appointment. The business has viewing windows that showcase the processing and aging rooms. On-site, visitors can see the creamery, sample and purchase products, and ask questions of Michelle and Anastasia.