This Small Family Farm in North Carolina Makes Mozzarella the Authentic Way: With Water Buffalo Milk

There are only six buffalo mozzarella producers in America, and Fading D Farm in Salisbury is one of them.

David and Faythe DiLoreto were at a crossroads in their lives when they took a vacation to Italy back in 2011.

"There came a time when we were looking to do something different," David explained to PBS NC. "We happened to make a family trip to Italy, not searching for anything there, but just fell in love with buffalo mozzarella when we were there."

Fading D Farm Water Buffalo North Carolina
Fading D Farm

Most Americans don't realize that mozzarella is made with water buffalo milk, and when they returned home to Rowan County, North Carolina, the DiLoretos discovered why: Barely anyone produces it stateside.

"We came home and realized that nobody was making it in the United States," David, a retired physician, recalled to the local news station.

The couple discovered that there were only five producers of buffalo mozzarella producers in the entire country, and none were within 500 miles of Rowan County.

So Faythe found a small herd of water buffalo and gave them to David for his birthday. And after two years of perfecting the process, America had six producers of buffalo mozzarella.

What began as a humble quest for fresh buffalo mozzarella has since transformed into Fading D Farm, a 64-acre farm on the outskirts Salisbury. There, the DiLoretos raise and milk a small herd of female water buffalo for mozzarella, gourmet gelato, and an assortment of other dairy products. Except for their stud Z, the male buffalo get sold for meat.

The DiLoretos make their cheese the old-fashioned way. It's difficult, but the flavor is worth it. Buffalo milk is 9 to 12 percent butterfat, compared to 3 to 5 percent for most cows. It's easier to digest than cow's milk—it's also noticeably thicker and sweeter.

Faythe describes it as "like drinking a melted milkshake."

"We know what's in it. We enjoy it from start to finish and having control over all of it," David told Carolina Country. "We know the cows are treated properly. We know the cheese is handled properly. It's such a good product—we love it."

Fading D Farm's products are available at the farm and in nearby stores. They also offer farm tours by appointment.

For more information, visit

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