I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I love the Atwater Farmers’ Market. Lately, I find myself buying more and more of my family’s weekly staples there—fruits, veggies, chicken, eggs, bread, olives, and granola. I’m even considering picking up some soap next time.
One of my favorite splurges is cheese and butter from Milk Man. Every week, this booth showcases three or so varieties of local artisan cheeses. The selection is always changing and always sourced from small California creameries. Most recently, I brought home a lovely Monterey Jack made by Schoch Farms, a family-run dairy in Salinas that makes about two batches of cheese a week. Incidentally, they’re the only ones still making Monterey Jack in its namesake county, and they start the cheese-making process while the milk is still warm from the cow.
That’s the kind of specialness you can expect from Milk Man.
Milk Man owner Chris Vamos makes it his mission to find tiny producers like Schoch Farms and introduce them to LA’s cheese-buying public. Currently, they set up shop at 7 farmers’ markets, including the Sunset Strip, Yamashiro and Autry. I can’t speak for every location, but at Atwater, there’s none of the snobbishness you might expect. Our cheesemonger, a very sweet guy named Lincoln, is always helpful and knowledgeable.
He might hand you a bit of Glacier goat cheese on a toothpick and tell you all about how it’s made by Drake Farms, who raise award-winning dairy goats in Ontario. And when you taste it, you’ll see that it’s tangy, and way beyond the quality than you find in grocery stores. He might even give you a few suggestions of how to serve it.
You’ll definitely want to ask for a sample of McClellands’ organic butter. It’s about the creamiest, dreamiest butter you’ll ever taste, and while at $3.50 for a 1/4 pound, it’s by no means cheap, it is totally worth it. Just get yourself a small slab and slather it on a baguette from Old Village Bakery (it’s right next door).
You deserve it.