Amish Cheese Shop Helps Local Farms
After a five-year hiatus, the Valley View Cheese Company in Conewango Valley is ready to welcome hungry customers back inside once again.
The shop on Route 62 has remained Amish owned since it was founded in 1962, but was not an operational cheese factory for the past half decade.
“The facility has been Amish owned for a long time but they leased it to English folks,” manager Eric Hastings said. “The English folks moved out about four years ago and the Amish community here and the farmers decided that if they were going to do it, they were going to do it on their own. The Amish community completely revamped and overhauled the facility. It is really a state-of-the-art facility now. It took them about four years to do it, but now it is Amish owned and run and all the products are made by the Amish as well, coming from local farms in the Amish community.”
Outfitted with new cheesemaking equipment, Valley View now has the capacity to process approximately 1,800 pounds of milk per shift. With eight or nine employees and two shifts per day, the factory is a perfect way for local dairy farmers to turn their milk into less perishable products.
“We’re making cheese curd and regular yogurt and drinkable yogurt,” Hastings said. “The guys who built this over the last four years, they volunteered their time so that way their grandchildren would have a stable milk market that can keep the farming tradition alive here in Conewango Valley.”
In addition to offering a variety of different dairy products on site, Valley View also ships to stores around Western New York and Chautauqua County.
“We sell here at our location,” Hasting said. “We also have a distributor up in Buffalo–they go by the name of Amish Dairy Products. They are distributing in the Buffalo, Rochester, kind of Western New York area. Then we also have local stores like Busti General, Ashville General, they all carry our products as well.”
Milk prices have been hit hard due to changes in supply and demand during COVID-19, so having a brand new facility to process raw milk into less perishable items has been hugely important for the Amish community.
“It was a perfect timing for us to start up, it’s already been able to start stabilizing their monthly milk check,” Hastings said. “We have not had to dump milk here at our farms, but the milk price has been terrible. It is not a stable milk market at all, that was forcing a lot of farms to get out. We hope to bring the next generation of farmers into the business.”