Hickory Nut Farm

Hickory Nut Farm produces up to 320 pounds of cheese a week

When Phil and Donna-Lee Woods retired in 2000, little did they know retirement would bring a new and very busy career. They bought their farm on a quiet dead-end lane in Lee and Donna-Lee had her sights set on spinning sheep's wool to weave tapestries, but decided to try "a new animal a year." First came the chickens, then donkeys, then the sheep, then the goats. The goats changed their lives.

Twelve years later Hickory Nut Farm produces up to 320 pounds of cheese a week from their ever-expanding flock of "ladies." Always eager to try out new flavors, Donna-Lee has created more than 20 cheeses, like cave-aged, brushed rind Terrene with a vein of black ash for a mushroomy and earthy flavor and an award-winning sea salt-cured Chebar. Along with her infused cheese flavors like Cherries Jubilee (with real cherries packed inside), she is currently working on a coffee cheese aged in cocoa, coffee beans and honey. "Nobody makes a coffee cheese," she says, smiling.

In addition to their home-based stall store - which also offers farm-fresh eggs, hand-crafted soaps and Donna-Lee's own mother's recipe for fudge made with goat's milk ("people love it") - Hickory Nut Farm cheeses are served in area restaurants that support local agriculture like Portsmouth's Black Trumpet and Cava. They also sell at farmers markets in Lee, Exeter, Newmarket and Portsmouth.

Hickory Nut Farms is open for scheduled tours, parties and events, and they welcome visitors to their stall store.

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