As you drive on US Route 83 from Nowhere, KS to Somewhere, TX with Anywhere, OK in between you will come to the small town of Perryton, TX. I have driven through Perryton, TX many times in the past few years and even contributed to the local police force budget, but have only stopped for gas and coffee. Each time I passed through Perryton, TX; I would see the store sign for the Watonga Cheese Factory and say to myself I will stop the next time I pass through the town. Recently, I did just that and among the High Plains of the Panhandle there is source of locally produced cheese that is worth the stop in Perryton, TX.
The Watonga Cheese Factory established in 1940 produces some very nice cheese from the family’s dairy farm which is located near the town. It is not a large store, but in addition to a large variety cheddar cheeses and cheese curds of made locally, there are cheese sold from other parts of the country in addition to locally produced pickled vegetables. I did not notice it at first, but there was a table with a selection of cheese for sampling. I do love free samples. I tried the Sharp Cheddar, the Onion Cheddar and the Cheddar Pepper and went back for seconds and maybe even third samples of the Onion Cheddar and Cheddar Pepper.
One of the reasons why I had never stopped at the store before was the question of what to do with the cheese that I purchased? It would be at least 18 hours before the cheese could be properly refrigerated. I expressed my concern to the very nice lady working in the store and she assured me that as long as I had the air conditioner running in the car and in the hotel room, the cheeses I selected would not spoil for many days. I purchased a small wheel of Sharp Cheddar sealed in red wax and a small block of the Onion Cheddar and then headed south towards BFE, TX.
I do not consider myself to be a hardcore Locavore or a diehard supporter of Local Businesses, but I do appreciate the efforts, risk and entrepreneurial spirit of those that dare and produce a quality product whether it is a local brewery, a family run coffee shop or in this case a cheese factory in a small town in the Panhandle of TX. The cheeses produced are very good and when I am passing through Perryton, TX from Nothing, OK I will be sure to stop and make another purchase. For those that do not have the pleasure of driving through Perryton, TX, you can always visit the Watonga Cheese Factory website to order on-line or call to place an order.