Goot Essa Cheese: Q & A and Gift Basket Giveaway

Goot Essa is an Amish cheese company based in central Pennsylvania, in business since 2001. They make a wide variety of cheeses (traditional cow dairy, goat, sheep) using milk from Amish farms.

Founder John Esh shares more about Goot Essa and their cheeses in today’s Q & A. We first heard from John in a 2020 interview. I also did a little review of a Goot Essa gift basket I ordered here.

But before we get to the Q & A, we’ve got a cheese gift basket giveaway for you (winner drawn tomorrow – Wednesday, December 14).

Cheese Basket Giveaway

In appreciation to Goot Essa & Amish America readers, I’m giving away a gift basket – “Cheese Lover’s Dream” – which you can see below.

Cheese Lover’s Dream

Here’s what it contains:


  • 8 oz. Mountain Valley Sharp Cheddar
  • 8 oz. Old German Weissa Kase
  • 6 oz. Der Weichen Gehl


  • 4 oz. Sweet & Spicy Dipping Mustard
  • 1.5 oz. Autumn Dawn Apple Butter
  • 1.5 oz. Nittany Valley Pure Honey

Container: 9 x 6.5 red gift box

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. I’ll draw and post the winner here tomorrow (Wednesday Dec. 14). Giveaway is limited to US addresses only.

Q & A with John Esh of Goot Essa Cheese

Amish America: Some people might be surprised to find an Amish cheese company selling over the internet. How did you start selling cheeses online, and what has that experience been like? 

John Esh of Goot Essa: It was during the early part of the pandemic that we had most of our restaurants quit ordering from us because of the shutdown. We saw the need to be able to move some product and decided to try the online market.

We were hoping to reach consumers who wanted to buy gourmet cheeses online instead of going out to the grocery stores. It started out slow until we had a food critic from the Philadelphia Inquirer write a story about using technology to maintain old world values. This story was printed in late September and then a lot of the customers came back during the holiday season to her gift assortments.

Amish America: Why is the company called Goot Essa? Who chose the name?

John Esh: Goot Essa means good food in Pennsylvania Dutch. We were looking for a memorable name that also touched a bit about our Amish heritage.

You work with Amish farmers – what does a typical Amish dairy in your area look like? 

We work with five different farm families for our milk supply. The three sheep farms supply milk. One farms milks about 40 sheep and two of them milk 25 sheep. The goat farm milks about 60 goats.

My family has the cows, and we milk about 65 cows. It generally is a family effort in our herd. Our sons: John, Jonas, Jacob, and Melvin all help me with the milking at some level depending on the schedule of what else is going on. During haymaking our two oldest grandsons Jake Allen and Arlan help with the milking as well.

Thinking of You” gift basket

Generally, the family gets up around 4:30 AM, does the milking, eats breakfast and then works in the cheese shop most of the day, especially this time of year with all the gift assortments that we make. We then milk again around 4:30 PM and are done with the chores around 6:30, have dinner, and then we like to spend some time together as a family relaxing and sharing the news of the day.

Why do Amish people feel farming is a good lifestyle?

We feel it is very important to work side by side with our children as they are growing up and learning by doing hands-on work. Also, we feel it helps them learn to be responsible. It also allows us to have three meals per day with the family around the table.

What makes your cheeses stand out?

Handmade gourmet cheeses require a lot of effort and attention to detail to make. There are no short cuts and it also requires a good quality control person. Our daughter Sadie May does an excellent job leading this team. Also aging cheese is in a cave is quite unique here in Pennsylvania.

What is the most unusual or surprising cheese in your offering?

The goat bloomy me rind Marn Vom Berge Kase is it very tasty and quite versatile great with club crackers and a bit of strawberry cranberry preserves, it also makes an excellent wine cheese, and is good on salads and burgers.

Which are the most popular cheeses?

Mountain Valley Sharp Cheddar, Woodsmoked cheddar and Old German Weissa Kase.

What is in the gift baskets?

A mixture of cheeses, mustards, jellies, fudges, beef sticks, ham, prosciutto, and crackers.

Christmas Delight” gift basket

Do people visit Goot Essa, and what is that experience like?

Yes. They come to do a sampling and tour cheese caves. Many people comment that they’ve never seen a cheese cave in person.

Thanks to John for answering these questions. You can check out Goot Essa’s wide assortment of gift baskets and order here. They also have a subscription program if you’d like to get a monthly shipment of fine cheeses. 

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    1. Carol erb

      New taste

      Can hardly wait to try this

    2. James Crump

      Homestead Life

      We worl really hard on our homestead. We raise and butcher our own pigs, poultry, and goats. We milk goats. We do our own breeding. But, we can never be as good as the Amish. The learning curve is so steep.

      My family would really love and be thankful of trying genuine Amish cheese from across the country.

    3. Fran Handrick

      Got Essa Cheese Giveaway

      I’d love to get this, as there is no hope of finding it in England!

    4. Lena Gallier

      The amish always seem to have goot essa (good food) no matter what it is! you can never beat homemade foods!

    5. Pam Kedderis

      Wonderful gift

      I would love to try this cheese!

      1. Becky

        Merry Christmas

        How great it would be to share this basket with my family!!

    6. Lea Gholston

      Amish cheeses

      My friend and I visited Lancaster, PA this past spring and thoroughly enjoyed it. We met some lovely families and picked up a couple of pen pals. I can’t wait to go back.

    7. Tracy Blogna

      Cheese Cave!

      I have never seen a cheese cave, and have certainly added it to my list of things to do! Interesting article, and a Blessed Christmas to you and yours.

    8. Verna


      I have been on your website for a few years now and find it most interesting. Not living near the Amish I don’t get to try any foods.
      I read the stories all the time with interest.
      In today’s fast paced and electronic world it is calming to read of a different more gentle and simple way of life…
      Keep up the very good work.

    9. Jeannie Arroyo

      Cheese Basket

      I love being on the email list of Amish America! The articles are very informative as I really enjoy learning about the Amish! Thank you Erik!
      I would love to have my name put in the drawing for this yummy looking cheese basket!

    10. Judy Miller

      Basket give-away

      I kive in Quarryvilke, PA which is in Lancaster County. My husband and I are a minority as all of our neighbors are Amish. When we first moved here, I said to mt 5 year old gtsndson that we were going to hsve to sell our car and get a horse and buggy. RJ’s eyes got big and he replied “Mimi, can you pick me up from school in it?” We love living among the people and hsve becone close friends with many of them. One just gifted me a hand stiched king size quilt. She ans her 80 year omd mother made it. I cried when she gave it to me.

      1. Melanie Theisen

        Reply to Judy

        Loved your post and I hope you were able to get your grandson a buggy ride! I have fond memories of when I was young (40 years ago) and my grandparents took us to Lancaster and we went on a buggy ride. I still have a picture of me and my little brother with my grandparents by the buggy horse. Both my grandparents are gone now, but your story reminded me of that vacation very long ago, so I thank you.

    11. Rebecca Rury

      Looks fantastic

      I’d love to try their offerings!

    12. Brother Jeremy JeremyDominic

      Would be

      Would be so pleased to try these. Thanks!

    13. Ken

      Say "CHEESE"!

      Wonder if they have the lacey baby Swiss or smoked Swiss/cheddar blend.

    14. Kathy Raderstorf

      Goot Essa

      Learned something again from one of your articles. Never have I heard of a cheese cave. Wish there was a picture of the inside. Thank you for the interesting article! Love me some cheese.

    15. Kathy Eberhart


      This is a wonderful giveaway…bless you.

    16. Rise

      Great Article

      This was so interesting. I love cheese and learned more than I knew when I began reading. I hope we can stop here on our travels and right now I’m traveling on the internet to check out their website and see what’s available. Thank you for this article.

    17. Basket giveaway

      I love reading about your lifestyle! I was raised Mennonite and also got up early in the morning to milk the cow. My favorite cheese is longhorn. Blessings to you all!

    18. Ken

      Sounds Great

      Enjoyed this. Learned new things and now I’m anxious to try their cheese. You gave me a new location for my list of places to go.

    19. Susan Heim

      Wonderful Interview

      Thank you for this fascinating interview. I loved learning about making cheese and was especially surprised to learn that the cheese is aged in a cave! Our family would greatly enjoy tasting these products.

    20. Looks so yummy!

      I’ve had some of this cheese when traveling in that area and they are every bit as good as they looks! I would love to have more and I would share it with my friend. (Maybe.)

    21. Giveaway comment

      I read every email.

    22. Robert L Sparkman

      I love cheese

      I love cheese, and would like to try this Amish-made selection.

      I live in northeast Indiana. I like the Amish bakeries and restaurants that feature Amish style cooking here.

      Have a merry Christmas.

    23. J.O.B.

      I’ve never seen a underground cheese cave in person. I’ve seen pictures of really old stone cheese caves in Europe. We are talking really really old ones. They did look pretty cool.

    24. Robyn Nichols


      I have never seen a cheese cave. This cheese sounds delicious, and thank you for the chance at the give away.

    25. Robyn Nichols

      Cheese Giveaway

      I have never seen a cheese cave, but I imagine it would be interesting. This cheese sounds delicious, and thank you for the chance at the give away.

    26. Rosemary

      Thank you for offering this giveaway! I would love to try some of this cheese.

    27. Peter Percival

      Goot Essa Cheese

      I live in southwest Michigan by a small Amish community. I drive for them and had many a meal with them at family gatherings, weddings and other events. I love there cheese and many desserts. The Amish are some of the most holsom and friendly people I know.

    28. Great

      I have been on your site for years. Always look forward to your weekly posts and videos. I almost went to the Elizabeth college seminar just to personally meet you. Keep up the good job

      1. Wow thanks Rick! I appreciate it

    29. Elizabeth Butler

      For give away

      Hi, Thank you for the great interview and I loved to learn all about the cheese shop and all the process and about what your day is like for you and your family.I have looked on your website and I can’t wait to order something next month.Many blessing’s to you and your family and I hope that you and your family have a great holiday.And thank you again.God bless.
      Elizabeth Butler

    30. Karen D Adolphson

      We LOVE Cheese!

      At our home we love cheese — all kinds! We’ll try any kind; the only one I’ve not been able to eat is limburger. I do like strong cheeses, but limburger is too much for me. (Tried it at a cheese festival in Wisconsin several years ago.) We love cheese, we love variety, and we hope we win a basket. In the meantime, I’ll sign my husband and myself up for a subscription service! (I so love reading the “Get the Amish” postings every week — thank you!)

    31. Teresa Tilford

      Goot Essa Cheese

      The baskets look so good with the cheeses and jams!

    32. Anne-Marie Ramsey

      Christy Otto (Book Giveaway)

      I would feel very blessed to receive your cheeses!

    33. Jo Jones

      Amish Cheese Basket Giveaway

      Would enjoy trying the cheese basket. I have appreciated and bought many Amish foods and crafts over the years. Thanks for the great articles to share their cultures.


      chesse article

      I can’t wait to order a gift basket from them the cheese sounds like it will hit the spot this Christmas Season. Thank you for your articles and have a blessed Christmas season

    35. Karen Thoman

      Amish Cheese Basket Giveaway

      I would love to win this basket. It would be lovely to share with my family at Christmas.


      Karen Thoman

    36. Joan Santos

      We love Amish cheeses

      Yoder, Ks is about an hour from where we live. Once a month we drive there for pastries, cheeses and whatever else we like. My husband was born in Portugal, I would love to sample some Amish smoked meats from the NE to see if they are similar to the Portuguese ones.
      Joan Santos

    37. Zelda A.Rowley

      Goot Essa Cheese

      Everything sounds delicious. Would love to win the basket!

    38. Variety!

      Everyone should know that variety is the spice of not only cheeses, but blog posts as well! Solove reading about our neighbors, the Amish, and other Anabaptist sects.
      This gift basket from Goot Essa would gift anyone’s gathering and I for one will do some future purchasing!
      Happy Holidays to All and Peace during this Season!

    39. Dee Mallett

      Gift Basket giveaway

      Your cheese selections are divine. I have your cheese cave on my bucket list to check out. We are surrounded by Amish here in OH. Cheese is always our go to for snacking an cooking with. Thank you for a chance to win.

    40. Gift basket giveaway

      I certainly enjoyed all the comments. Thank you for such thoughtfulness of another give away. I’m not familiar with the names of the cheeses bit I’m sure their the best being prepared by the Amish. The only item I found at Walmart is the Amish potato salad. So good I’m addicted and buy it every week. In my part of the country is so different and wished their was an amish store. I’d love to win and good luck to the others too. I’ll be thinking of you eating the cheese lol.

    41. Lori Martin

      Goot Essa Cheese

      Our favorite places to visit are the Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Thank you for the informative newsletter. I enjoyed the Goot Essa
      Q & A.

    42. Mike Peloquin

      Amish America

      Love all the different articles. The gift basket would be great.

    43. Urica Weis

      Cheese giveaway

      I would love to try this and share with my family
      This Christmas season

    44. Vivian Furbay

      Thanks for the giveaway!

      I am a fan of cheese. This is kind and generous of you to have this giveaway.

    45. Amish food and cooking

      We have made it mandatory yearly camping vacations to the Amish areas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and our home state of Michigan. We Try to go a minimum of 4 weeks a year, but unfortunately have missed the last 3 years due to an accident with a 12 ft ladder and 2 broken wrists, but should be capable this coming summer. Love the articles exposing unknown areas, to us, and other life’s habits of them.
      Thanks, Merry Christmas, GOD Bless.

    46. sheri gros


      My husband and I are from Louisiana. During a summer vacation we were able to tour and sample Goot Essa cheeses. They were all simply delicious! We would love to sample this basket. Thank you for the opportunity to win. It is very kind and generous.

    47. Liz Bourgeois

      Cheese! Who doesn’t love cheese?

      This basket of cheese would be a lovely addition to anyone’s holiday that should happen to win it. I would love to sample and share the contents of this basket! Having only been to Amish country once and sampling lots of homemade goodies, I can certainly appreciate the love and work that goes into making what I’m sure are scrumptious cheeses!

    48. Kevin Kirsch

      Got Essa

      Might be a little far from western Ohio but the selections look wonderful, the prices are reasonable and shipping costs are below average. As soon as I finish my cheeses from Holmes County I’m sure I’ll be ordering.

    49. Goot Essa Cheese

      I would love to try this gift basket from Goot Essa.
      Love reading Amish America. Have been to Lancaster area
      many times but not in the last 2 years due to Covid. Hope
      to visit again in 2023.

    50. david king

      I really like cheese

      I’d like to sample these wonderful cheeses