5 Spoke, 5-Star Cheese
ALAN AND BARBARA GLUSTOFF of 5 Spoke Creamery are sure of one thing: Producing great cheese takes time. From their historic farm in Goshen (Orange County), the pair produces a unique line of aged, raw, European-inspired artisanal cheeses along with approachable classics. Each variety is crafted on-site using milk from their own cows, then aged in a below-ground, European-style aging room on their farm.
Alan, a food chemist who has worked in the food industry for decades (including product development for Unilever Food Solutions), says he has always been intrigued with cheese. “It’s one of my most favorite foods—it’s always been that one product that’s fascinated me.”
The couple moved to the Hudson Valley about 10 years ago, leasing a small plot of land to try milking and cheesemaking for a few years, then took the leap to purchase and restore an abandoned Goshen dairy farm five years ago. “We wanted to work for us, rather than for others; we wanted something that could truly be ours,” Alan says.
The property and barn, which hadn’t been used for nearly 30 years, needed restoration and retrofitting. The project included creating a “cave”—an underground cheese aging room. “The natural bacteria in the air within the cave helps create ideal conditions for mold-ripened cheeses,” Alan says. “The cave really helps us produce some super-unique cheeses.”
The lineup of 5 Spoke cheeses ranges wide. The most popular among local restaurateurs is Tumbleweed, a semi- hard Cantal Fermier and aged cheddar hybrid that is aged 12 months in the cave, offering a nutty flavor with finishing touches of sweetness. Then there’s the striking Harvest Moon, a naturally bright orange cheese inspired by the French Mimolette that offers hints of butterscotch evolving with age. (French Mimolette was once banned from import by the FDA because of alleged allergic reactions.) The unique color of the cheese stems from annatto, a tree seed. “We are one of the very few—if not the only company—in the U.S. making Mimolette,” Alan notes. “We had to dig back very far to find Old World French recipes to find how to make it just right. We also source our cheese molds from France to keep it as authentic as possible.”
From packaged varieties to full wheels, a number of retailers across the Hudson Valley currently offer 5 Spoke cheeses. Adam’s Fairacre Farms, Hannaford’s, Shop Rite and specialty markets carry the products, either pre-packaged in the dairy section or fresh-cut at the cheese counter. The cheeses also are available to order at the farm, and plans for an on-site market are in the works.
“We view the bicycle part of our name as a metaphor [for] what the company is about,” Alan notes. “With a bike, you can slow down, take back roads and experience things in a unique way that isn’t available when you zoom by at 60 miles per hour.” He applies that same metaphor to his approach to food and cheese. “It takes time to know where your food comes from and how to choose carefully—it’s all about that balance and taking time to find a great food you enjoy.”