Meet "The Cheese Nun" in Bethlehem at the Farmstead Festival

CTbites Team

On Saturday October 17 take a drive to Litchfield County to enjoy the fall foliage and enjoy the richness of the local, handcrafted fare offered by the Farmstead Festival at Percy Thomson Meadows Farm, 78 Thomson Road in Bethlehem. The festival, organized by Artisan Made Northeast and Percy Thomson Meadows Farm, begins at 11 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. and features handcrafted cheeses, wine, meats, condiments, chocolates, baked goods, produce, an educational pig roast and entertainment.

As an added incentive, Sister Noella Marcellino, “The Cheese Nun,” will make an appearance at the festival and participate in a question and answer session in the education tent. She is internationally recognized as one of the foremost experts in the art of natural-milk cheese making. She received her PhD in microbiology from the University of Connecticut, and was awarded a Fullbright grant to study cheese making in France. Her focus was the Auvergne, in central France, and the study of fungal populations in the many cheese caves of the region. For her work, she received the prestigious French Spirit Food Award.

In 2002, she was the subject of a PBS documentary, "The Cheese Nun," about her time in France and work at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, where she has been a Benedictine nun for more than 40 years. She uses the raw milk of the Abbey's cows to make her cheeses.

Artisan Made Northeast is a specialty food distribution and online retail company that has been in business since 2003, and the Assard family has run the Percy Thomson Meadows Farm in Bethlehem for more than 100 years. This festival combines the collaborative spirit of the small farms and artisan food makers. Guests will receive a tasting menu, including one item from each food vendor, and certified sommelier Sally Camm will pair the foods and wines. All foods and wines are also available for purchase. Come celebrate with us the fresh, complex flavors of local and regional foods and wines!

Guests will also enjoy the opportunity to chat with the cheese makers, bakers, chocolate makers, wine makers and farmers, amid the breathtaking autumn foliage views from the hilltop farm. The festival takes place under a tent, so come rain or shine!

Admission is $15 online (until Friday, October 16 at 12 p.m.) and $18 at the door the day of the festival). Ages ten and under admitted free. For online admission, visit, and print your e-mail receipt as your ticket for admission. For more information, email; or call 203-273-5821.