Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 58

Roberta Ferguson in the milking parlor at Three Graces Dairy.

lows operations like hers to flourish.
"People who think about going
into this ask, 'What about the inspectors?' And I can tell you that
when I started, the inspector was
a tremendous resource for us. And
even now, we get inspections every
couple of months, but we always
know about them. Nobody wants
to come all this way and find that
we're not at home," she says. "But
they're also very helpful in terms of
suggestions to help us improve our
operation. It's been a positive relationship."
Shortly after buying the North
Carolina farm, Roberta and Larry
spent a week in the Burgundy region of France touring wineries, and
they discovered French cheeses-
"our inspiration," as Roberta describes them.
58 BlueRidgeCountry.com

Once they made the life-altering
decision to start producing farmstead cheeses, the transition from
their urban existence to the rural
one was abrupt, even jarring at first.
"We realized this is 24/7. It is very
demanding. We've never worked
harder in our lives."
Larry died of ALS in 2005. Running the
business day-to-day now alongside
Roberta are her daughter Sacha Alford and her son Bill Warholic. Like
their mother, neither of them had
prior cheesemaking or agricultural
experience, and they both came
from totally unrelated backgrounds.
Warholic worked in the painting
industry and as a bartender, and Sacha Alford is an art historian who
owned her own gallery in Chicago.
Coming to cheesemaking from

diverse backgrounds, Roberta says,
is not unusual for families up and
down the Western North Carolina
Cheese Trail.
"They enjoy animals and want
to do something different with their
lives. Most people have not grown
up wanting to be cheesemakers. This
is not Wisconsin, even though they
have a big artisan cheese community now. These are people who are
reinventing themselves, or as young
people, have decided they want to
do some sort of farmstead operation."
Roberta explains that the term
"farmstead" means that the producer owns the animals, milks them,
and makes the cheese. "There are
not too many farmstead operations
because of cost," she adds. "It's easier just to buy the milk. The term 'ar-


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017

Features
Festival Guide 2017
Waterfalls of North Carolina: A Photo Essay
Wytheville Loves Edith
Barry Glick, Garden Guy
Vanishing Landmarks of North Georgia
Cheese!
Departments
From the Editor
Contributors
Mill Creek Stories
Worth a Click
Creature Feature
The Good Walk
Mountain Report
Country Roads
Singing in the Garden
Festivals & Events
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Contributors
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - The Good Walk
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Festival Guide 2017
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Waterfalls of North Carolina: A Photo Essay
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Wytheville Loves Edith
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Barry Glick, Garden Guy
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Vanishing Landmarks of North Georgia
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cheese!
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Singing in the Garden
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cover4
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