Grit Blogs > Joy in the Journey

Weekly Wanderings: Springfield, Missouri

By Jennifer Nemec


Tags: cheese, travel, WW,

/uploadedImages/GRT/blogs/Jenn/adj.jpgA couple of weekends ago, we made the trek to the southern Missouri town of Springfield. We left Topeka at oh-dark-thirty and got to see the sun rise over the misty hills. 

Springfield is yet another college town (I seem strangely drawn to them). There are four colleges in or near Springfield: Missouri State University, Ozarks Technical Community College, Drury University, and Evangel University, totaling nearly 36 thousand students in this metro area that about 385,000 people call home.

Springfield's Web site boasts: "Nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population lives within a 500-mile radius of Springfield, which is Missouri's third-largest city." This statistic seems impossible, you can't reach either of the coasts with a 500-mile drive. But you can reach a startling number of the non-coastal population centers: Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Dallas, Omaha, Des Moines, Oklahoma City, Wichita, the list goes on (perhaps this is why Branson is so successful).

Lake TrumanIt was a beautiful time to visit the Ozarks – the trees were still green, and the water levels high. If you're interested in hunting, fishing, or just a gorgeous campsite, check out a few of the "more than 7,500 miles of shoreline along accessible lakes and floatable streams and rivers" near Springfield.

On the way home, though, was where we found our gem, nestled next to one of the gorgeous lakes in the area, Truman Lake, and right off highway 13 between Springfield and Clinton.

I freely admit to a love of tourist-destination-type places, and this one fit the bill, nicely. We stopped at Osceola Cheese Company and tasted cheese. We found them open and hoppin' on a Sunday afternoon.

In the cheese case

I developed an interest in cheesy knowledge while working on the cheese-making article in our November/December issue last year (I wrote a sidebar using what I found out).

Osceola cheese caseOsceola Cheese is the perfect place to go if you're looking to teach your tastebuds the difference between Havarti and Edam. They have many, many types of cheese, from the previously mentioned to chocolate cheese, cheese with chipotle or jalapeño, cherry and blueberry cheese, goat cheese, and tomato and basil cheese. Most kinds have been cubed and placed in tupperware containers along the cheese case. Using the strategically placed toothpicks provided, you can taste before you buy.

We ended up with a cherry white cheddar and a smoked goat-milk Gouda, as well as a few other crunchy tidbits.

You can also get myriad types of mustard, salsa, fruit spreads, and salad dressing, but we were strong and got away without indulging.

The cherry is unique – mild with just a hint of sweetness, and the goat-milk Gouda is incredibly creamy and smooth. I originally promised some to the rest of the GRIT staff, but I find myself hoarding it at home. I suppose that's the true test – am I willing to part with my hard-won spoils?

gina_1
1/15/2009 9:37:04 AM

OMG! I heart Osceola Cheese and I heart gouda! When my brother lived near Springfield, MO I always made it a point to stop by Osceola for their free samplings and stock up on my favorite cheeses. Do you have a picture of you as the Osceola mouse? Haha.


mark t.
10/7/2008 9:43:42 PM

That is a wonderful part of the country! Sounds like it was a great weekend! Yup, cheese is one of nature's most perfect foods! There aren't too many that I wouldn't call friend... at least until after I'd nibbled them away... ;)


mark t.
10/7/2008 9:43:06 PM

That is a wonderful part of the country! Sounds like it was a great weekend! Yup, cheese is one of nature's most perfect foods! There aren't too many that I wouldn't call friend... at least until after I'd nibbled them away... ;)


cindy murphy
10/3/2008 8:30:11 PM

Cheese! Has there ever been a more perfect food? In a store full of cheese, I'd be in heaven....most likely from a sky-rocketing cholesterol level from all that taste testing. I love cheese. You're lucky, Jenn, you got out with just those few packages. I could see myself leaving with armloads of the stuff. Cheese - all kinds of cheese - is second on my list of culinary weaknesses, coming in only behind chocolate. And chocolate cheese.....swoon! Looking forward to reading where you wander off to next.


lori
10/3/2008 7:25:52 AM

Hi Jenn. Just looking at those pictures of all that cheese could send me into a tizzy!! I LOVE cheese, although I'm not particularly fond of the sharp stuff. I could and probably would spend hours in a place like that. My husband would be dragging me out!!


kc clark
10/3/2008 4:31:12 AM

sorry for the double post, your server did that when I registered ;)


kc clark
10/3/2008 4:29:52 AM

*giggle* kind of funny really, Living in topeka as I do, I graduated college from MSU (SMSU back then) in Springfield:) grew up around there, shoot, I even worked at Bass Pro Shops for a while (the original Bass Pro Shop, even bought beer at the Brown Derby where Bass Pro got its start). I keep promising mom I'm going to go down for a visit, wish I could get some time off and go, might be able to early in Nov. BTW, Hemmingway's in Bass Pro has the best seafood fettucini alfredo of anyplace in the country I've been to.


kc clark
10/3/2008 4:29:32 AM

*giggle* kind of funny really, Living in topeka as I do, I graduated college from MSU (SMSU back then) in Springfield:) grew up around there, shoot, I even worked at Bass Pro Shops for a while (the original Bass Pro Shop, even bought beer at the Brown Derby where Bass Pro got its start). I keep promising mom I'm going to go down for a visit, wish I could get some time off and go, might be able to early in Nov. BTW, Hemmingway's in Bass Pro has the best seafood fettucini alfredo of anyplace in the country I've been to.


jeanne-marie
10/2/2008 12:41:52 PM

Cherry white cheddar sounds wonderful. Now I feel compelled to take a wander over to our local cheeseire- what is a store that sells cheese called besides a cheese store? Sorry for the digression. But chocolate cheese.... Yum! Thanks for sharing


jennifer nemec
10/2/2008 9:15:10 AM

Hey Esteban-- I'm telling you, the goat cheese is *good*! It doesn't look or feel any different than any other Gouda, it's just made from goat's milk. I've learned to like what people usually call "goat cheese" -- which is a much softer sharper cheese than this one -- but this one isn't that. Though you're welcome to try something else! The chocolate cheese container was empty, so I'm still wondering about that. Probably not enough to buy a chunk, but I'm getting there! Thanks for commenting!


steven
10/1/2008 9:35:11 PM

What a lot of cheese and how fun! We live near Fair Oaks Dairy in Indiana, and we have yet to tour the cheese-making facility. But we buy a lot of their cheese. It looks like a fun weekly wandering from where I sit! You can keep the goat cheese, if I can try something else . . .