Ashtyn Greene was close to unveiling her Virginia Cheese Company in Norfolk’s Freemason District when COVID-19 nixed that. But she’s resilient (her mom chose her name because a complicated pregnancy meant she would have to be strong, like an ash tree, to survive) and recognizes hidden blessings in the postponement.
“Cheesemakers and distributors, like everyone, were less busy, and it was easier to get information from them,” she shares. “I’ve been able to build stronger relationships at the start than had there not been shelter-in-place.”
Those ties will lead to 50-or-so cut-to-order, artisanal and farmstead cheeses from near and far. Her 1,300 square foot shop/café also will offer cheese boards, soups, salads and sandwiches to take out or eat in (when permissible and safe), plus a small retail section of “go-withs” like jams, nuts, breads, chocolates, beer and wine. Picnic-style items were always part of the mix but are gaining status. “Now even more,” she says.
Virginia Cheese Co. opened in early August.