Pearl Valley Swiss Cheese awarded grand champion at Ohio State Fair

| August 28, 2017

COSHOCTON – Pearl Valley Cheese has been a staple cheese-making business in Coshocton County since 1928 when a Swiss immigrant purchased the land and started making Swiss cheese. From those humble beginnings, the company grew to what it is today, manufacturing many types of Swiss cheese as well as Colby, marble, and cheddar cheese.

At the Ohio State Fair this past summer, Pearl Valley Cheese’s mild Swiss received grand champion at its cheese contest. Their Baby Swiss and mild cheddar cheese also took first place in other categories.

Cheese contests go back many years and due to the heavy Swiss influence in this part of the state, many cheese contests were only geared toward Swiss cheese. At that time, there were approximately 30 cheese-making businesses in the area that used to enter and sell their Swiss cheese at fairs all across the region at the Tuscarawas County Fair, Holmes County Fair, and of course, the Coshocton County Fair. Now, only about seven cheese houses remain in the area and cheese contests are more rare with only three a year; one in June to celebrate Dairy Month, the Ohio State Fair, and the Swiss Festival in September.

However, all the cheese makers in the world come together in Wisconsin every other year to compete for the world championship. In 2014, Pearl Valley Cheese was awarded world champion in Swiss cheese, a feat that they are proud of.

Every other year, Wisconsin has a national cheese contest on the off-years of the world cheese contest. The mild Swiss that was awarded grand champion at the state fair received second place in nationals.

“We have the best employees and the best dairy producers at Pearl Valley Cheese,” said Sally Ellis, co-owner of Pearl Valley Cheese with her husband Chuck. “If God hadn’t brought these two groups of people together, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

Pearl Valley Cheese is located in Pearl, Ohio in Coshocton County at 28820 SR 93, Fresno. Customers are welcome to browse the shop and watch cheese being made Monday through Friday until noon through viewing windows.

“We have amazing retail customers and wholesale customers,” said Sally. “We are about 95 percent wholesale and five percent retail and without that part of the equation, none of this would happen either.”

While at Pearl Valley Cheese, try some samples of cheese before you buy and if you’re interested, there is an Ohio Swiss Cheese Association history book for sale that talks about the evolution of Swiss cheese making in Ohio, including the man who started Pearl Valley Cheese, Sally’s grandfather, Ernest Stalder.

“I’m glad we’re in Coshocton County,” said Sally. “I’m glad that God led grandpa to Coshocton County.”

Pearl Valley Cheese is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Category: Business

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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