Wine and cheese are the ultimate food pairing, a match made in culinary heaven that is hard to resist. While Loudoun is now known as DC’s Wine Country®, it was once home to a thriving dairy industry. There were so many dairy farms in Loudoun back in the day that the county flag literally has milk droplets displayed on its border. In the 1950s and 1960s, Loudoun was one of the most prolific per capita dairy farming regions in the world.


While only a handful of dairies remain today, small, family-run dairies are making a comeback in Loudoun and along with providing raw milk and even butter for milk-shares, they are also making superb artisanal farmstead cheese.


To celebrate National Cheese Lover’s Day on January 20, we suggest you try some of that fromage.


Start at Locksley Farmstead Cheese Co., in Middleburg, a creamery that sits alongside Chrysalis Vineyards and Little River Bake House as part of the Ag District. Overseen by Teri Scott and Steven Stiles, the dairy has a herd of 40 Jersey and Holstein cows and they make 11 styles of cheeses, which are sold in The Ag District tasting room and at local markets. It also appears in the dishes and cheese plates of some of Loudoun’s best restaurants.

“It’s part of our mission to keep Loudoun’s proud dairy and agricultural heritage alive,” Scott said. “All of our cheeses are made from cow’s milk produced right here on our farm. Our cheeses are as local as you can get. Because we don’t source from other farms or co-ops, we can control the butterfat and protein levels and produce the best milk for cheese making.”


What to Try?

It’s hard to choose. The Nottingham Gouda is a best seller. Aged for at least six months, it develops nice crystallization and has a buttery flavor with notes of hazelnut.


If you like something stronger, the King Richard Blue is creamy and mildly pungent with notes of fruit that give it a hint of sweetness. Personally, as a fan of French cheese, I love the gooey and potent Maid Marian Camembert. Leave it out to sit for a while before smearing it on a slice of fresh bread. The advantage of trying it at the Ag District of course is that you get to pair it with wines from Chrysalis Vineyards. Ask the tasting room staff what pairs best and don’t forget to order some of that bread from the Little River Bakehouse.


For world-class artisanal goat cheese, you need to head to the opposite end of the county: Georges Mill Farm in Lovettsville. If you’re driving and it’s a weekend ,stop at Brookfield Dairy Farm on Hamilton Station Road en route. The owners sell ice cream from a mobile trailer on site and also produce butter and raw milk for local milkshares. The farm has been in the Harrison family for generations.


At Georges Mill, Sam and Molly Kroiz produce artisanal farmstead cheeses from a herd of free range Alpine dairy goats. The couple practices “regenerative farming” that includes returning pasture to forest and bramble for better browsing. Gallons of whey from the dairy feed their small herd of heritage breed hogs. The cheese to come for: rich and creamy chevre, a crumbly smooth feta, a pungent Eula blue and a smooth and smoky Cavalry Camp Ash. You can buy it in local groceries but also at the rustic “honor system” farm store on the property that looks straight out of Mark Twain. Georges Mill dates back to the 1750s and has been in the Kroiz family for centuries.


From Georges Mill, stay in the area and pop into the newly opened Lovettsville Cooperative Market on the Town Green. On top of selling local wine, beer and produce, you can also find a selection of cheeses from Village Cheeseworks, a community-focused creamery opened by Eric Hilgartner and Kelly Harding in Upperville in 2020. While Upperville is not Loudoun, all the milk for their cheeses comes from Dogwood Farm in Lincoln, just south of Purcellville, one of the last remaining dairies in Loudoun. To emphasize the local aspect of the operation, the cheeses are all named for villages in the area.


What to Buy?

The Atoka is a soft-ripened dual-texture fromage in the style of goat cheese, the Round Hill is a soft, buttery camembert with earthy notes and the Philomont Feta is a creamy feta named in tribute to the legendary Holstein-Friesian dairy bull, Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation, born in Philomont in 1965. Named the Bull of the Century and hailed as “the most influential animal in history”, close to 90 percent of all Holstein dairy cattle in the world – some eight million livestock – have the sturdy bull’s genes.



Loudoun may not have the enormous number of dairies it once boasted, but the history, tradition and techniques of that rich past still run strong.


Say cheese!