The FLX FAQs: Keeley McGarr of Keeley’s Cheese Co.
Keeley McGarr has been making cheese all around the world for several years now. She established Keeley’s Cheese Co. in King Ferry in 2009 and has been making unique cheeses there ever since.
Edible Finger Lakes: What is the most interesting thing you always keep in your fridge?
Keeley McGarr: Believe it or not, cheese plays a pretty big role in our fridge. We’ve always got a piece of something interesting in there from our travels or given to us by friends. I was up in Vermont recently and brought home some bandaged cheddar from Shelburne Farms. I worked there making cheese in college, so it’s fun to stop by and see what’s new.
EFL: What’s the last meal you cooked for yourself?
KM: I’m currently about a week away from having our second baby, so I’m not doing much cooking these days (playing the sympathy card!). Luckily, my husband Alan is a great cook and baker. He brought home some black pudding (blood sausage) from a recent trip to see his parents in Ireland, and made me a delicious dish with baby potatoes and veggies. His spelt, dark chocolate and Merlot cake is also ridiculous. I’m pretty spoiled.
EFL: What’s the one kitchen tool you couldn’t live without?
KM: Since Alan’s a baker, we have a lot of bread and pizza around all the time. A good, sharp bread knife is key for us. He was given one by the German family he baked with in Cork, Ireland. It gets a lot of use, not always just for bread. (I cut veggies with it sometimes, don’t judge!)
EFL: What was the first Finger Lakes wine/beer/spirit you ever tasted?
KM: Happily for us, our farm is just around the corner from King Ferry Winery, so my first drink of the Finger Lakes was Treleaven Semi-Dry Riesling. It’s still my go-to all year for our own use, and to share a taste of the Finger Lakes with friends and family from all over.
EFL: If you could add one item to the Finger Lakes foodshed that isn’t already there, what would it be?
KM: I am impressed by how many new products and ideas are constantly arriving in our foodshed. It seems like as soon as I think of something that might be a good addition, I read about a new business starting to produce it. I’m so excited about the recent explosion of craft cider, anchored by the local cideries that have been making it for years. It’s also great to see all the hops poles popping up in fields–we’re returning to our Central New York hops-producing roots!
EFL: What does it mean to you to be a part of the Finger Lakes foodshed?
KM: I am fortunate to have grown up here, and to have returned to start my own cheese business on my family’s dairy farm. This time of year, it’s hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else. Once February rolls around, you might find me in a different mindset. But to put it simply: the Finger Lakes foodshed is home to me.