It was love at first bite when we discovered the cheese haven that is Tulip Tree Creamery. Now, we are excited to bring their delectable cheeses to you. I was introduced to these delicious cheeses two years ago and found that this small-batch cheese producer crafts cheeses that are not simply high quality, but also speak to a sense of place and a time of year. We are proud to partner with Tulip Tree and introduce our customers to their products.
Founded in 2014 by Fons Smits and Laura Davenport, Tulip Tree Creamery is a pasture-based dairy located on the northwest side of Indianapolis, Indiana. It is a local-regional creamery producing handmade, artisan cheeses in the European tradition. You may recognize Smits, a Netherland’s native, as a famous face in the cheese industry. He is also a former cheesemaker for Cowgirl Creamery and Ludwig Farmstead Creamery. His business partner and co-owner, Laura Davenport, has an extensive background in public health, education and biology and has been putting her expertise to work in the dairy industry since 2004. Together, they have developed a creamery that is dedicated to quality, craftsmanship, local sourcing, sustainability and education.
To be a pasture-based creamery means Tulip Tree’s cows are out in the pasture year-round, even amidst the unpredictable mid-west climate. In the summer, the cows feed on alfalfa. In the fall, they “wet-wrap,” which involves cutting and bailing the grass within 24 hours to protect the nutrients and proteins in the alfalfa source. This process allows Tulip Tree’s Jersey cows to feast on fresh grass during the winter months.
Tulip Tree Creamery strives to be an all natural, grass-fed milk source, which is achieved through a dedication to using the best milk for each and every cheese they produce. They source their milk from several Indiana dairies, like the Lot Hill Dairy, that specializes in grass-fed, certified humane, non-GMO and hormone-free milk. The Lot Hill family dairy farm raises Holstein cows that feed on hay grown on the farm and silage that comes only from non-GMO crops. They also use no antibiotics or growth hormones on their milking herd.
Dandy Breeze Creamery in Sheridan, Indiana, was a source added in 2018 in order to answer the increasing demand of Tulip Tree’s steadily growing cheese production. Dandy Breeze Creamery produces milk from Jersey cows that receive an all-grass diet. Jersey cows are highly regarded for their rich milk, which is actually higher in protein, calcium and phosphorus, and all of the “good for you fats” than any other breed.
In striving to produce the highest quality cheese by seeking out the best local ingredients, Tulip Tree Creamery has put itself on the map as one of the best American cheese producers, and their cheeses prove it, just look at all of their accolades including:
- American Cheese Society in 2018 for Trillium and Hops
- American Cheese Society in 2017 for Trillium
- American Cheese Society in 2016 for Nettle (Seasonal)
- Good Food Awards in 2017 for Trillium
- Culture Magazine-One of “Best Cheeses of the Year” in 2017 for Trillium
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Many of the award-winning varieties are now available at Heinen’s for you to try including: Trillium, Nettle, Chicory, Snapdragon and Foxglove.
Not sure which to indulge in first? Join us on Thursday, September 27 from 6:30- 8:00 pm at Heinen’s of Chagrin Falls as we meet with Laura Davenport from Tulip Tree Creamery to taste and discuss their delicious handmade cheeses. Discover your favorite varieties from and bring some home from our Cheese Department to share with the family. Click here to register.