Though Lucy’s Market in Soldotna has since its inception carried cheese as a central pillar of its offering, a new Cheese of the Month subscription box that debuted this month will offer a new way to enjoy the dairy product.
Lucy’s carries and sells a variety of artisanal cheeses sourced from around the world, making it “one of only two true cheese shops in the entire state,” a point of pride for cheesemonger and co-owner Kelsey Shields, who says she’s affectionately known as “The Cheese Lady.”
Shields said that a subscription model, where she could craft a curated cheese experience, is something that she’s carried in the back of her mind for a long time. As a cheesemonger, she said that she’s knowledgeable about the “exquisite variety of flavor and experiences you can find.”
“For years,” she said. “Just kinda wondering if it would be something our community would bite on or not. I just hadn’t taken any action on it.”
When a regular customer approached her about making a set of cheese boxes for Christmas gifts, Shields got “exactly the inspiration I needed.”
So Cheese of the Month came together. On Friday morning, Shields was assembling January’s box — the debut of the program — for more than 20 subscribers. It contained three cheeses, two sides and a list of wines to pair — specifically including wines that can be purchased at local locations like Country Liquor in Kenai.
January’s theme is sheep’s milk. Shields said one of her goals for the subscription was helping people to try types of cheese they might not otherwise.
“America is very cow centric,” she explained. “That is not the case in the rest of the world. I really like introducing people to those flavors — the rainbow of flavors that exist outside cow milk.”
Of the three cheeses in January’s box, one is soft and tart, with a citrus hint; another is “technically a cheddar,” which should seem familiar but will also be unique because it isn’t made from cow milk; and the third is new to Lucy’s, a cheese from Spain with “a little bit of a bite,” she said.
“We’re trying, if we can pull it off, to have each box have something either exclusive or seasonal or introduce a cheese we’ve never sold here before,” Shields said. “Something special.”
New boxes with new themes will be distributed each month, with their contents a surprise to the subscriber.
Three subscription plans are available for purchase on the Lucy’s Market website, including three-month, six-month and 12-month plans.
Shields said that to get in on the next month, subscribers need to buy in before the 15th day of the prior month, meaning that those interested in getting in on February’s Cheese of the Month need to sign up by Jan. 15.
Those with questions about Cheese of the Month or about cheese at Lucy’s Market are encouraged to simply ask, Shields said.
“We love to talk cheese; we are here to serve you cheese. Don’t be shy, even if we’re busy. Don’t ever feel bad taking our time asking about cheese.”
Find more information about Lucy’s Market on social media or at lucysalaska.com, where orders can also be placed and subscriptions to Cheese of the Month are available.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org.