Valley Milkhouse is an artisan creamery producing fresh, soft-ripened and aged cheeses in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
We are inspired by the European cheesemaking tradition. We seek to allow the terroir of the region to shine. Our milk comes from one dairy: Berk's County's noteworthy Spring Creek Farm. The Stricker family is a fifth generation dairy family whose mix of Jersey, Ayrshire and Holstein cows are raised on a rotational grazing system as a zero-grain operation. You can read more about the milk here.
We distribute our products via retail outlets in Philadelphia and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. We also participate in several farmers' markets and farm share programs. For details, visit Where to Find Us.
Valley Milkhouse was recognized by Cheese Rank as one of the "next big things" for 2016. Cheesemaker Stefanie Angstadt was voted among Zagat's 30 Under 30 in 2015. Valley Milkhouse is proud to be part of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Cheese Guild. Our creamery took home three ribbons from the Pennsylvania Farm Show in 2017 and another three in 2018.
Stefanie was fortunate to return home to her familial roots in the Oley Valley in the spring of 2012 when she fatefully met organic farmer Tim Stark at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City. In a brief conversation, she learned that Tim's farm is situated on Angstadt Hill - the very tract of land that Stefanie's German ancestors settled nearly three centuries before her. The rest is history. When she met the Oley Valley for the first time since early childhood, she fell in love, and she never looked back.
Stefanie’s cheesemaking experience began several years before, at a home brew supply shop in Brooklyn when a small shelf hosting Ricki Carroll’s beginning cheesemaking kit caught her eye. A gallon of milk and a heap of squeeky curds later, her interest was sparked. After a few years of home cheesemaking, she was fortunate to land a job at award-winning Avalanche Cheese Company in Basalt, Colorado where she learned the traditional English technique of wrapping cheddar in lard-soaked bandaging, and her curiosity for the craft deepened.
In the spring of 2014, Stefanie came upon an old milkhouse of a retired dairy barn in the Oley Valley. She approached the farm's owners about the possibility of turning it into a creamery. With their encouragement, a little elbow grease and the help of several industrious friends, the space was renovated and the production launched in May 2014.
Mackenzie Keller was born in the heat of the summer. It makes sense that she would excel at keeping things cool and calm at the creamery. Our grounding force and artistic director, Mackenzie inspired the beloved Honey Bell cheese, a bloomy-rind adorned with chamomile that was written up in the Philadelphia Inquirer as a cheese of the month.
While her official title is cheesemaker apprentice, Mackenzie is an increasingly essential part of the creamery. Between helping with deliveries, farmers markets, production schedules and strategic business planning, she is a major part of our tiny team.
Mackenzie lives on her family’s homestead in Kutztown, a sheep, fiber, and flower farm called Merrythought. She grew up in the Lehigh Valley, studying music in high school and then majoring in English Writing as well as Music History and Arabic at West Chester University.
Mackenzie loves books, particularly young adult novels with queer representation. You can visit her at the Kutztown Community Library where she can answer all of your passport questions. She has too many hobbies, including playing the flute, knitting, growing and arranging flowers, making flower crowns, wood burning, and claw machines.
The Oley Valley and Covered Bridge Farm
The milkhouse is located on one of the oldest farms in Oley, known as the Yoder-Cleaver homestead dating back to 1743. A long retired dairy farm, the estate is coming back to life thanks to the Stokes’ family’s efforts to restore, rebuild and reinvent the 18th century farmhouse, bank barn, several outbuildings, spring-fed stream, Manatawny Creek bed and surrounding acreage.
The Stokes have partnered with other local farmers to cultivate the tillable land on the property in organic vegetable production.
The Oley Valley (or as a true Dutchperson would say it: “Olee Walley”) merits distinction for having some of the most fertile land in the Eastern United States and some of the cutest suspender-bearing children on bikes (not to mention Weaver’s best ever chocolate peanut butter cake).
The Oley Valley is a breadbasket of growers and food artisans supplying the surrounding communities and small cities throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Travel here on a Saturday in June, and you are likely to see packs of cyclists cruising the wooded hills, horse-drawn buggies hugging the sides of the winding country roads, chickens running around two-centuries-old stone barns, laundry lines dangling a week’s worth of blue jeans in the breeze, and farm stands of all shapes and sizes displaying the season’s first strawberries and sugar snap peas.
We welcome visitors to stop by, bring a bottle of wine and a picnic blanket, grab a wedge of cheese, and enjoy the scenery of the Oley Valley.