Weekend Review: Winter Park Dairy

Posted: October 3, 2011 in Local, Primal Cooking, Shopping, Weekend Review

This weekend I took another trip over to the Winter Park Dairy off of Howell Branch Road in Seminole County. After enjoying several wedges of their cheeses, I felt it was time to share it with my readers.

It’s not difficult to find The Winter Park Dairy but you need to look for the small signs pointing toward the farm. You drive in through a small gate and down a dirt road past horses and cows. Just before you get to the lake, you curve to the right and the farm store is directly in front of you. I’ve been told that if you take away the palm trees that are on the property it feels like you’re in Vermont. The farm store is only open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so you’ve got to make room in your schedule to make a trip over. I always try to get in just after 9 on Saturdays since I’m afraid of how popular this will get and how there’s a chance they will run out of what I want to buy. I know…I’m a little selfish.

The Winter Park Dairy is farmed by the Green family and is the first dairy to be built in the last decade and the only one producing 100% natural raw milk artisan cheese. It is also the smallest, least mechanized and most urban. No pasteurizers or milk pumps to heat, batter and destroy the integrity of the milk. Land development in Central Florida rapidly gobbled up the last farms and Florida dairies became massive industrial enterprises milking tens of thousands of confined cows every day. The milk is processed in mega-sized food plants that would make NASA envious and shipped hundreds of miles to a grocer’s shelf near you.

That’s what makes The Winter Park Dairy Farm Store unique. The store is not large in size but it has several interesting items to buy. There are jams, honey, and baked goods. Since I don’t eat grains or sugar, I went directly for the honey. They have Orange-Blossom, Wildflower and Tupelo. I went for the Wildflower honey and have used it at home for sweetening my primal ice cream, teas and for using in the new primal bread recipe I’ve been making lately.

On the table next to the register you’ll find wedges of the various raw milk, aged artisan cheeses produced by the Winter Park Dairy. Each type of Cheese has a sample in front of it. During my visits to the farm store, they have had Blue Cheese, Black & Blue Cheese(with peppercorns throughout), Parmesan and Cheddar. The cheese is sliced into big wedges and sold for $6 per wedge. David Green will even encourage you to pick the biggest one since they’re all the same price.

To the right of the cash register, there’s a cooler with farm fresh eggs, Amish butter and goat cheese made from other producers. I purchased a roll of the Amish butter on my first visit over four weeks ago and I still have more than half of the roll left to use.

So far, I’ve tried the Cheddar, Blue Cheese and Black & Blue Cheese. I am a big fan of the Black & Blue. I’ve purchased it twice and have used it to stuff dates, top hamburgers, fill omelets and sliced for an occasional snack.

The texture of the cheese is very creamy. It melts extremely well under the broiler. The rind is edible and also has a great texture to it.

The website for Winter Park Dairy offers this brief history:

Farm History

The Green family has farmed the land surrounding spring fed Lake Florence for 4 generations. Citrus was king and the Green groves produced oranges, tangerines and grapefruit for over a century until the back to back freezes of 1983 and 1985 laid permanent waste to the fruit and trees. So that the farm could continue to produce fresh food for the community and a living for the family, David Green and Dawn Taylor-Green started Winter Park Farm in 2001 to breed and raise Angus cattle. That’s how they became acquainted with the Cow. The Cow is an extremely cool animal. As such, it seemed a dreadful shame that their only destiny was to be fattened and slaughtered by the age of three. The short meaningless life of a Beef Cow. Not our kind of farming.

Dairy Cows. Being a Dairy Cow is the way to go. You have human servants – “Farmers” – attending to your every need, every day. They feed you all natural grains, hay and pure water to your heart’s content. You, in turn, produce five gallons of fresh butterfat rich milk every day. Working together in harmony under the Florida sun to create the Sunshine State’s only raw milk artisanal cheese, all thrive. Grazing on green lakefront pasture year-round, a Dairy Cow’s life is an eternal Spa visit. And they get to live a good long time to enjoy it. Our kind of farming. Winter Park Dairy was born.

I highly advise a visit to the Winter Park Dairy. Every time I walk in, David greets me with a warm welcome and has been very informative about the products his family makes. Support this local family farm and enjoy the fact that your cheese is locally made from quality ingredients without preservatives.

Location: 4501 Howell Branch Road, Winter Park, FL 32792
Owners: David L. Green, MBA, MS and Dawn Taylor Green, RD, LD
Hours: Saturdays Only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Acreage: 8
Products: Raw Milk Aged Artisan Cheese
Website: http://winterparkdairy.com/

  1. Heather says:

    I can’t wait to go!!!

  2. Nava says:

    I’m back tracking on your posts from this week as I’ve been traveling, but I am SO glad you posted about this farm! I’ve past by it almost weekly for the better half of 2010 and into 2011 as I was interning/volunteering in Maitland and took Howell Branch from University every Friday. I always wondered what was behind the fence and next time I’m visiting friends in Orlando on a weekend I will definitely make an effort to go and see the farm.

    • Pasquale says:

      Hi Nava! Thanks for tracking my posts. Definitely get over to WP Dairy next time you’re here. It’s amazing and David is so nice. Send me a message if you’re in town and I’ll take a ride over to meet you there on a Saturday.

      • Nava says:

        I love being able to catch up on your posts! I’m amazed by your distances biking! This cooler weather probably helps a lot as well.
        I’ll definitely have to go over next time I’m here, I didn’t realize it was open to the public, I usually was paying more attention to the road than what was on the side of the road. And when I know for certain my plans next time I’m in Orlando I’ll definitely let you know so we can catch up! I just ended a very unplanned trip there for a couple of days for something over at UCF and didn’t have free time to catch up with anyone besides the friend I stayed with.

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