Cheese monger: A person who sells cheese, butter, and other dairy products.
At Bowers Fancy Dairy Products, cheese mongering isn’t just a craft, it’s a family tradition. Since 1964, three generations of Bowers’ men have kept DC and the Capitol Hill community well-supplied with dairy products and cheeses from around the world at their stall at Eastern Market.
In talking with Mike Bowers – the grandson of the original Bowers’ cheese monger and now owner of Bowers Fancy Dairy Products – it’s evident that his family’s vision for their business was more than a passion for cheese and fresh dairy.
Yes, curating cheese palates, impressing people’s friends with stunning charcuterie boards, and providing high-quality products is central to their business. But what’s more is their desire to impart community through their stand and small business. To help people understand quality dairy, to localize their relationship with food, to illustrate the power of public markets and spaces in driving connection, and to remember our unique histories.
The Bowers are true Washingtonians. In the late 1800’s, Mike’s great grandfathers include a brick mason, a blacksmith and one was the terminal agent for the B&O Railroad, all playing a part in building Washington. Mike’s grandad – Harris – famed for his straw “Boater” hat established Bowers Fancy Dairy Products. Mike’s father – Ray – was famed for his second job in the Secret Service and revealed DC’s best cream and eggnog at a White House Christmas. Find the straw hat! It’s still there this many years later. Go to Bowers and see for yourself.
Bower’s best kept secret?
Lewes Dairy Cream! They used this cream in the White House back in the day—as confirmed by Mike Bowers’ father who found himself in the kitchen at a presidential holiday party. Bowers uses this cream to make their own in house crème fraîche. They take their cream in a full fat cultured buttermilk, add the culture and let it sit at room temperature for some time.
I want to impress my guests. What cheeses are must-haves for a stunning charcuterie board?
Mike Bowers laughs: “This would probably do it – Fromage a la truffe noire.”
Mike Bowers’ favorite cheese on the menu?
Grayson cheese from Meadow Creek Dairy in Galax, Virginia.
Best products for a cheese plate?
1. Rogue River Blue, Oregon
2. Brie a la Truffe Noire from Masion de Truffe, Paris
3. Grayson, Virginia
4. 3 Year Guffanti Provolone
5. L’Amuse Black Betty, Holland
Listen to Mike Bowers share more of his Capitol Hill history.
FIND BOWER’S DAIRY
@ Eastern Market
225 Seventh Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
TUESDAY – FRIDAY 7:00AM – 7:00PM
SATURDAY 7:00AM – 6:00PM
SUNDAY 9:00AM – 5:00PM