Linden Dale Farms
One of the newest additions to the Central Market family is Linden Dale Farm, which opened in May of 2009. Specializing in goat milk based cheeses, this small stand offers fresh and locally made Feta Cheese, as well as three different varieties of Chevre (plain, chive, and garlic). Owned and operated by Andrew and Mary Mellinger, their farm is a 7th generation dairy farm that was established in 1797, making it almost as old as Central Market. It is a protected farm and today is solely devoted to the production of Goat Cheese. One hundred and thirty five goats make up the herd on which this farm thrives, and it takes Andrew, Mary, and most of their six children to keep up with things around the farm. Each and every goat has a name and the Mellinger's keep track of each one. In addition to that amazing feat, when the goats are the family bottle feeds each kid . At this writing there are ninety goats being bottle fed and each one knows the sound of its own name.
The Mellinger's goat cheese is guaranteed fresh, in a money-back sort of way, and your satisfaction is likewise, guaranteed. After you've sampled all four different cheeses Mary Mellinger won't have to explain why her cheeses are better than any other Feta or Chevre around - but she will anyway. For starters, Feta cheese is historically and traditionally a goat based cheese. Most of the Feta you get at grocery stores is produced from a cow milk substitute. Their Feta is a Greek style, and is soaked for four weeks in its own brine before you purchase it. Once it's properly aged in its own brine it will actually stay fresh indefinitely. No expiration date, no spoilage, period. Of course, it doesn't usually last very long anyway. As for the Chevre, it is a creamier, spreadable cheese. Limitless potential surrounds chevre cheese. You can cook with it, spread it on to anything (we recommend the chive on an "everything" bagel), or just eat it straight. It is truly delicious and has a tantalizing consistency.
Linden Dale Farm is happy to be providing their cheese to local chefs. No other place in Lancaster offers fresh and locally-made goat cheeses; its flavor is unrivaled and its delicacy is very much appreciated by those who are looking for local quality. The Mellinger's are enjoying being a small business and intend to stay that way so that they can continue providing a very high quality cheese. Mary assures us that their 7th generation farm wouldn't ever compromise quality for quantity.
In an age of efficiency, bottom lines, and hard costs, the time and care that goes into this goat farm endeavor successfully bucks the trends of the time and reminds of a simpler way to do things. In essence, Linden Dale Farm is a perfect representation of why people all over this county, and all over this country, love and value the spirit of Central Market.