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From corporate sales to cheese artisan Oley businesswoman carves out niche in southeastern Pa.

Stefanie Angstadt and her Valley Milkhouse in Oley Township produce about 300 pounds of cheese per week, which is double from when she started her business two years ago. - (Photo / Jennifer Hetrick)

Berks County’s farming community had a void, Stefanie Angstadt thought.

Berks County’s farming community had a void, Stefanie Angstadt thought.

It’s why in 2014 – after earlier leaving her corporate sales job in New York City – she opened Valley Milkhouse in Oley Township, a dairy farm that makes artisan cheeses.

Today, the cheese is making its mark, and Angstadt has developed successful sales regions in the Lehigh Valley south to Philadelphia and its suburbs. Not bad for someone who, upon leaving BNY Mellon in New York, had to learn how to raise dairy animals and how to develop an understanding of cheese production.

“I started as a home cheesemaker out of love of good, strong cheese,” she said.

Angstadt sources her milk from Spring Creek Farm’s herd of grass-fed Jersey, Ayrshire and Holstein cows in Heidelberg Township. She occasionally adds sheep’s milk recipes, too.

Some of her recent seasonal cheeses are Clover (fromage blanc), Milkweed (a fresh farmer’s cheese), Foxtail (feta), Witchgrass (with a lightly grassy flavor), Thistle (brie-like), Ivory Bell (raw milk-made) and Blue Bell. She also crafts plain yogurt.

Mold-ripening and ash-dusting are approaches taken with the rinds in a few of her cheeses.

“I’ve been very overwhelmed by the number of chefs calling,” Angstadt said. “I haven’t had to market much, fortunately.”

Angstadt said she usually has a call at least once a week from a new chef who wants to place an order.

“I didn’t think wholesale would be such a big part of the business,” she said, noting that she has 40 to 50 restaurant clients.

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