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Retail store at state’s only water buffalo farm to open Saturday in Rowan County

Fading D Farm features mozzarella cheese, butter, meat, gelato
Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 2:45 PM EDT
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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - There is a one-of-a-kind farm operating in Rowan County, and one of the things it produces is mozzarella cheese. But there’s a catch…the milk they use doesn’t come from cows. And when the owners of the farm first tasted “mozzarella di bufala” years ago, it literally changed their lives.

Fading D Farm is the only water buffalo ranch or farm in the state and one of only 6 in the country, and it all started with a taste of the unique cheese.

The owners of Fading D Farm, family physician Doctor David DiLoreto and wife Faythe were in Italy on a family vacation when they took a bite of buffalo mozzarella cheese.

“We were like, this is amazing, we should get some when we get home,” Faythe said. “We looked and looked and couldn’t get any.”

So, they decided to make their own.

“We got buffalo about 8 years ago,” Faythe said. “We got frustrated and and we said we’ll get our own animals; how hard can it be? Turns out it’s a little harder than we anticipated. We actually had to go back to Italy to two buffalo farms where they shared their buffalo milk recipes with us.”

There are dozens in the herd now, all on 64 acres in Rowan County. All of the females carry names like Feta, Brie, and Blue; named for various cheeses.

The DiLoreto’s learned that water buffalo aren’t like cattle. They’re bigger, but only give as much milk as a goat, and Faythe says they can be moody.

“The animals can withhold their milk if they’re upset,” Faythe said.

Milk from the water buffalo is different from what a cow produces. It has 8 percent butterfat, compared to 3 to 5 percent for cows. The milk is higher in simple sugars with protein that’s easier to digest. It’s also thicker and sweeter.

And from that milk comes the distinctive cheese. Once the DiLoreto’s started making it, people took notice, including the judges at the State Fair who awarded blue ribbons.

“If it’s good enough for that, we should share it with people,” David said.

That led to a retail store, online sales, and sales at food spots across the area. For David and Faythe, their new roles were a major transition.

“Kind of 100%,” David said. “Being a doctor is mainly cerebral and indoors, farming, although still more cerebral than I had realized when we started, is a lot more physical and is all outside. You’re all dependent on yourself. If you fail or succeed is depending on the decision you make, not outside decisions for the most part.”

“We have enjoyed it, working together,” Faythe added.

The retail store will be opened on Saturday. It’s located at 295 Fading D Farm Rd. in Salisbury. You can also find the cheese and the gelato at Robert’s Family Farm in Denton. Crossings Farm in Lexington has gelato, some meat and mozzarella Valle Bufala in Hendersonville has the Gelato. Roots on Main Restaurant in Lexington serves mozzarella and also uses Fading D ground meat in a hamburger. Your Mom’s Bazaar in Davidson carries butter, gelato and mozzarella. Deep Roots store in Greensboro has ground meat available. Childress Winery also serves mozzarella from Fading D.

Note: This story idea was suggested to WBTV by a member of the Leadership Rowan class sponsored by the Rowan Chamber. Thank you!

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