By Kaley Pillinger
At a market saturated with crates of rainbow kale and shoppers carrying bags of Swiss chard is a singular cheese stand. But Pablo Navas of Valley Shepherd Creamery is anything but lonely at the Stuyvesant Town Farmers’ Market. Gesturing to the stalls on his left, Navas commented, “I always like to stay beside the bread. There’s a wine guy, I don’t know where he is today. But I always say: ‘Wine, bread and cheese, that’s all you need.’ That’s pretty much my dinner.”
At the Union Square Farmers’ Market, too, Navas sets up his stand next to the same bread stall, Bread Alone. Being the only cheese vendor, he’s greeted by loyal cheese-lovers every week and gets to learn about the palates of different neighborhoods. In Stuyvesant Town, mozzarella is the favorite; in Union Square, tourists and students flock to him for tastes; and at 82nd street, customers buy large blocks at a time. Navas finds that, “At 82nd, there’s a lot of old people and they love cheese.”
Navas came to the U.S. in January from Spain for an internship at Valley Shepherd Creamery in Morris County, NJ. Being at markets on weekends allows Navas to speak English, but being at the farm provides him ample opportunity to practice as well.