I was driving back to Portland from South Berwick a few weeks ago when I stopped at a cute roadside orchard, just because.

Inside its store was the usual selection of Maine apples, cider, farmstand vegetables and cider doughnuts. A freezer held local meats. What caught my eye that day, though, were the tiny containers of spreadable cheese. Priced at $1.99, they came in flavors like horseradish, garlic and herb, and olive and pimiento. There were medium and large containers, too, for $3.99 and $5.99. The label said the spreads were made in Maine.

Curious, I took some home.

I expected them to taste like all the other “pub cheeses” found in the grocery store that have been whipped into a frenzy. I was pleasantly surprised. Though the cheese glides over your tongue so smoothly it’s almost like you’re eating flavored air, at the same time the spreads are not too light.

The creators of Squire Mountain tub cheese, Paul and Deanna Meserve, started making the cheese 20 years ago, I learned, when they had trouble finding a spreadable cheese that wouldn’t break the cracker they were trying to put it on. At the time, they ran a country store in Bridgton, “and the out-of-staters, before they’d go back home they’d buy everything on the shelf,” Paul Meserve said.

Production has moved to Standish, and the couple have taken on a business partner, Jake Hansen. They have six flavors – original cheddar, port wine, garlic & herb, horseradish, olive & pimiento, and bacon cheddar – and it’s all made in small batches. Small, Meserve said, or the recipe won’t work.

Sales, though, have been big. Meserve estimates that in 20 years the company has sold 1.5 million tubs of cheese. Hannaford carries a couple of flavors, but Meserve says smaller, independent supermarkets and farm stands like the one I visited tend to sell more because they carry all sizes and flavors. You can find a list of Maine and New Hampshire stores that sell Squire Mountain at squiremountain.com.


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