Padgett and Nathan began their cheese journey, not with cows, but with vegetables. They came to Sequatchie Cove farm to farm vegetables at the farm that was at that time mostly animals. As the couple’s time at the farm went on, they decided to branch out to dairy farming to try and make a lasting and beneficial project to the farm and those who lived on it. Their passion for cheese making evolved from a love of being farmers and having backgrounds in horticulture.
It is rare to see southern dairy farmers and cheese makers and that is just another reason that this creamery is so special. It is a rare occasion that dairy is produced in the south because of the inherent challenges, and that is what makes Sequatchie Cove Creamery and their cheese so unique. So when Padgett and Nathan began the creamery there were a few obstacles, but they were gladly welcomed by the community because of their rarity and quality. Padgett said that once people taste the difference in their cheese it is easy to convince people that the southern twist is worth the change.
The art of making cheese is very difficult and requires a lot of research. Because of this, Nathan has traveled to Italy and learned different techniques and methods of Old World cheese making. After they learned the old traditions, they brought these methods back home to Tennessee and injected southern style into the old traditions. The quality and region of the milk is what adds most of the southern flavor into the cheese. All of their cows are grass fed from the local regions. When the creamery had their own cows, Padgett and Nathan learned about the importance of the quality of milk and the flavors it adds. They also use southern ingredients in their cheese. In Padgett’s favorite cheese, Sakerag Blue, they use fig leaves from Tennessee that have been soaking in Tennessee Whiskey. This was an experimental cheese that they came up with after being inspired by other cheeses.
Ty and Brian from our team went out to the farm for a batch tasting in the cove one beautiful late Spring day. In Padgett’s and Nathan’s true, laid back fashion this was done at a picnic table on their beautiful farm. Everyone that was tasting and had gold and silver star stickers. Brian at one point asked Nathan what qualities he was looking for when judging their already award winning Coppinger. Nathan said “I’m looking for it to be good.” That speaks volumes to the mission. Rather than relying on complex analysis and spider graphs to judge quality, the Arnolds simply and genuinely want to make cheese that just makes people happy. Mission accomplished.