Yesterday evening, helped by my mother and brother, I enjoyed the “Down Home” gift basket, which arrived from Goot Essa last week.
The basket came well-packed with insulation on all six sides, and four cooling packs.
It also came with two cards. One has a photo of the cheese shop. On the reverse side it tells the Goot Essa story:
The other card offered four suggested cheese pairings:
Overall it was quite a tasty selection – and it was fun to sample together. We had several favorites, including the Old German Weissa Kase, the Sharp Cheddar, and the sweet and spicy mustard which went really well with the cheeses and included crackers. The only thing I regret is not ordering at least a slightly larger basket to sample more of the cheeses. It was nice to have the variety of condiments though.
About Goot Essa
Before we get to the giveaway, I would encourage you to have a look at Goot Essa’s About Us page which provides some interesting background on the company.
I particularly liked the section which described the people behind the business – including the individual cheesemakers and the farming families who provide the different sources of milk (cow, sheep, and goat). Here’s a selection:
Israel Kinsinger, Cheese Maker
Israel is responsible for making our world-famous cheddar cheeses. He is the father of 5 children, 3 of whom are interested in learning to make cheese. A studious man, Israel enjoys reading and tending his animals. His favorite cheese? “I really enjoy a good cheddar,” he says.
Fannie Mae Glick, Cheese Maker
Fannie is from a neighbor dairy farm and possesses an extremely infectious personality. She is also responsible for managing our cheese cave and the rotation of our cheeses. She loves making Felsa Yehr, but she prefers to eat Der Weichen Gehl with a drop of Nittany Valley Honey. Her favorite recipe is pasta with a mixture of Der Alpen Kase and Mountain Valley Sharp Cheddar cheese sauce.
David and Rebecca Schmucker
David and Rebecca are the parents of 5 children. David is Emanuel’s brother, and both share a love of sheep and the land. In addition to milking 25 sheep, David and Rebecca run a machine shop and are famous for producing quality heirloom tomatoes on their farm in Clarion County.
Ezra and Anna Peachey
Ezra and Anna refer to themselves as “part time” farmers. Their 4 sons and 2 daughters are largely responsible for caring for their 25 goats and producing the food for them as Ezra works off the farm. Anna also makes goat milk fudge for the local farmers market.
Owner John Esh and his wife Anna Mary are responsible for providing all the cow milk, from a herd of 80:
Their 80 cows are fed a balanced diet in addition to pasture. Cow comfort is a primary motivation on the farm. Cows rest on water beds and have access to sprinklers in hot weather. Each cow is treated as an individual and each one is loved.
If you missed it, last week’s Q-and-A with John can be found here.
Country Basket Giveaway Winner
Thanks to everyone who shared comments. I really enjoyed reading through your comments and I passed some of them along to John Esh.
A number of you have already eaten the cheese and some of you have even visited the farm and cheese shop. Here’s one comment that caught my eye, from David Treusch:
We learned of the Goot Essa company from earlier email link to article.
My wife and I visited the Esh farm last month. Absolutely beautiful farm, spotless production facility was amazing (particularly enjoyed samples trays). Employees were all very friendly and outgoing to answer all our questions. Tour of the cheese cave was really cool (slight pun intended!).
The quality of the cheeses is definitely at a gourmet level. We took care of our family Christmas shopping. Also, purchased a considerable sample of cheeses to enjoy ourselves!
Highly recommend the Goot Essa products, and in-person farm visit if you are in the area.
So I hope you enjoyed this little series about this business which we happened across just a few months ago. I really did. But I like good food (“goot essa”) and cheese especially, so that’s no surprise.
So time for the big moment. I just drew a name using random.org from your comment entries (over 300 of them). And the winner is…
Country Basket, the giveaway prize
Comment #120, Pam, who wrote:
Cheese looks delicious. The other products sound good too. Interesting read about the business.
Congrats, Pam! Just send a mailing address (where the basket should be shipped) to me at ewesner[at]gmail[dot]com, and I’ll pass that on to Goot Essa so they can send it to you.
Order from Goot Essa
If you’d like a basket, the good news is there are still four days left to order to make sure it arrives by Christmas.
To check out all the baskets, go here.
For just the cheeses, go here.
The main page with all their offerings is here.
Important note: to receive baskets and cheeses in time for the holidays, you’ll need to order by this Friday, December 18.