Farming and agriculture are going through a generational change in America. Dairy farms have been decimated in the northeast. And farmers are facing some of the toughest conditions ever. But a new generation of farmers is finding a way forward by focusing on better quality products. Bringing their products to market are a slew of the best agricultural retailers and chefs in America.
You recently read on Richardcyoung.com about Animal Farm Creamery, whose products are on the table at one of my favorite hotels in America, The Inn at Little Washington. You can also find Animal Farm Creamery cheeses at New York City’s finest cheesemonger, Saxelby Cheesemongers. Here’s a bit about Saxelby Cheesemongers from their website:
Saxelby Cheesemongers is New York City’s first all-American cheese shop. Saxelby operates a retail shop in Chelsea Market, ships cheese nationwide via our online store, and works with many of New York’s best chefs.
Our relationships with our cheesemakers are the driving force behind what we do; we aim to know and celebrate the how and why behind each cheese in every season, and share that knowledge with cheese lovers everywhere. Saxelby Cheesemongers is dedicated to supporting sustainable, regenerative agriculture, bolstering rural economies, and ensuring the American artisan cheese revolution continues to grow and thrive.
Anne Saxelby cut her teeth working behind the cheese counter as a monger at Murray’s Cheese and as an apprentice making farmstead cheese at Cato Corner Farm in Connecticut. She traveled to local cheesemakers throughout the northeastern United States and abroad—working with goat cheese makers in the Loire Valley and with affineur Hervé Mons in Roanne, France to learn as much as she could about the art of making, aging, and selling cheese.
The bicycle logo is an image of Saxelby herself. In the early days of Saxelby Cheesemongers, she would deliver cheese to some of New York’s finest restaurants by bike, filling up a large hiking backpack with whatever she could fit inside… (The record was a 5lb bucket of feta with some 5 or so odd pounds of cheese on top!)
Saxelby Cheesemongers was founded by Anne Saxelby in 2006 in the Essex Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. That first shop (a humble market stall, compared to a phone booth or a postage stamp by ardent customers) measured just over 100 square feet, but its passion and ambition to support the burgeoning American artisan cheese movement was outsized. Soon after opening, Saxelby was joined by Benoit Breal, a French expatriate living in New York City whose passion for delicious, handmade food and business acumen were a perfect foil to Saxelby’s extensive knowledge of American artisan cheese.
The dynamic duo embarked on a 15 year journey collaborating with champions of the American artisan cheese movement including Chefs Dan Barber of Blue Hill, Mike Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, and Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson of Frenchette. Their commitment to sourcing superlative ingredients, maintaining close relationships with their purveyors, and supporting small, weird, likeminded businesses has supported Saxelby Cheesemongers throughout the years and have helped to elevate the American artisan cheese movement into the consciousness of cheese lovers across the country.
In 2011, Saxelby Cheesemongers opened their first ‘cave’ in Red Hook, Brooklyn dedicated to wholesale and mail order operations. In 2017 Saxelby Cheesemongers opened a retail location in Chelsea Market, expanding the selection to include domestic craft beer and cider, grilled cheese sandwiches and platters.
In 2020, Saxelby Cheesemongers relocated the “cave” to a larger space in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn to answer the growing demand from online sales.
The sudden passing of Anne in the fall of 2021 was an immense loss for the company and the cheese community. Benoit and the Saxelby Cheesemongers team honor Anne’s memory by cultivating the spirit of the company’s mission; continuing to be the bridge between local cheese makers and consumers for many years to come.
Family and friends of Anne Saxelby have established the Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund to provide training opportunities to young adults. Funds raised will allow youth to apprentice in sustainable systems and agriculture, domestically and abroad, the way Anne did. These opportunities can enable participants to return home and have the same impact on their communities that Anne had in hers. To make a donation or learn more, please visit slowfoodusa.org/saxelby/.
Download a map of our producers to explore Saxelby’s family of cheesemakers and farmers across the northeast and midwest.
Read more about Saxelby Cheesemongers here.
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