Location, Location…Location? The home.grown. Story of Philadelphia Cream Cheese

We provide a wide variety of home.grown. products to our customers, but did you know that one of America’s favorite cream cheeses is one these products? Philadelphia Cream Cheese is actually the product of small town Chester, NY, not Philly. So why is this tasty spread labeled Philadelphia when its roots are in NY? This is the tale of Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

As you can imagine there are a lot of myths of how Philadelphia Cream Cheese got its name. Tales such as “it originated in Philly then was stolen and brought to Upstate New York,” or “it’s from Philadelphia, NY” float around, but are untrue. According to the research done by world-renowned cream cheese expert Rabbi Jeffrey Marx, the name “Philadelphia Cream Cheese” is nothing more than a clever marketing scheme.

In the 1880s, Philadelphia was the country’s goldmine for all things dairy, producing the highest quality products due to its fertile land. At this time, many American dairy farms were producing a fresher, un-aged version of what in Europe is known as Neufchatel, a soft, crumby, mold-ripened cheese. Philadelphia was a hotbed for cheeses of this kind and had earned itself quite the reputation.

Meanwhile, in Chester, NY, dairyman William Lawrence was boosting the cream content in his cheese recipe, creating something new simply called, “cream cheese.” Lawrence was doing well, selling enough of his recipe to run a solid business, until he met New York cheese broker Alvah Reynolds. Reynolds pitched the idea of adding Philadelphia to the name of the recipe for better advertisement. Lawrence was intrigued, and “Philadelphia Cream Cheese” was born. Lawrence’s product became a booming success and eventually turned into the product that we love today.

Fast forward to the present day and cream cheese is still celebrated in neighborhoods in our region. In Lowville, NY, just a few miles from our Carthage Price Chopper, they host an annual Cream Cheese Festival featuring recipe contests, games, music, and more. Every year the event is a hit!

Craving cream cheese? Now that you know its rich, home.grown. history…it’s time to enjoy some! Find it at your local store or on our website, and check out our recipe picks below for some treats that put cream cheese in the spotlight!