Finger Lakes, NY -- The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail is pleased to announce their 2014 Member Farms and changes to trail structure in time for their first Trail-wide Open House on June 7, which kicks off the busy summer tourism season.
2014 brings changes to the Trail structure. Farms are now categorized as Destination Farms or Non-Destination Farms. Destination Farms are farms that have a farm store on premises and are open for visitation year round, although their hours may change season to season. Non-Destination Farms do NOT have a farm store on premises and are NOT open for visitation except for select Open Houses. However they do participate in off-site events like the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival in July or the Preferred Pairing events that the Trail does in conjunction with the Seneca Lake Wine Trail each winter. Non-Destination farms can also be found at many of the region's Farmers Markets.
Under the new categorization, the Trail is happy to welcome back two returning members. Side Hill Acres Goat Farm in Candor returns as a Destination Farm. The farm produces award-winning goat cheese and is open year round, 5 days a week (closed Tuesday and Sunday). Visitors can not only shop their farm store but also tour the goat barn, feed the kids and try their hand at goat milking.
The second return member is 4 Tin Fish Farm in Conquest. 4 Tin Fish Farm is also a goat farm, but is a Non-Destination Farm. While visitors can't visit the farm, they can find their cheeses in several places and at many events in Cayuga County.
The Trail also welcomes a new member to the Trail. Heaven Scent Farm from Cohocton is a small farm producing artisanal Jacks. They are a Non-Destination Farm at this time, but do have a seasonal roadstand on Route 21 in Cohocton from May through October. They will be at Lakewood Vineyards for the Trail's first Open House so people can try their cheeses. And, they can be found at the Corning Summer Market and the Victor Farmers Market each week.
"We changed our structure a little bit this year to make it easier for visitors to understand which farms are open and which ones aren't," said Lisa Engelbert, who runs Engelbert Farms with her husband Kevin and their family. "One of the biggest complaints we get as a Trail is people who went out to visit a farm and found no one there. So now we have eight farms who've committed to having hours all year so people can feel confident when they head out on the Trail. That being said, we are all small working family farms and things can come up, so it's always best just to call ahead to double check."
Engelbert Farms is less than five minutes off Exit 62 of the Southern Tier Expressway, which is the exit for Nichols and Tioga Downs. They are about 15 minutes from Sidehill Acres Goat Farm in Candor, and about a 45 minute drive to Dutch Hill Creamery in Chenango Forks, just north of Binghamton.
The 13 Creameries of the 2014 Finger Lakes Cheese Trail farms are:
The key to making a day on the Trail enjoyable is pre-planning a route. Trail reps advise going to the website, looking at the Google map, and planning a route by grouping four or five creameries together. All the information for every farm, Destination and Non-Destination is available on the Trail's website: www.flcheesetrail.com. And updates to hours, farm news and event announcements is always up to the minute on the Trail's Finger Lakes Cheese Trail Facebook page.
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