Opposite page: LaClare Farms’ Evalon aged goat’s milk cheese won “best of show” in
the 2011 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, giving cheesemaker Katie Hedrich a
double honor: second female and second goat cheese to win the title.
sustainable and traceable product, and the
farm is 30 minutes down the road. Plus,
they have a whole portfolio, including goat
feta and French-style chevre.”
Volt chef/owner Bryan Voltaggio agrees
that passion and dedication are key to
making a good product. His Frederick, Md.-based restaurant has used goat cheeses
from Cherry Glen Goat Cheese Co., Boyds,
Md., since opening in 2008. “I first met
Diane Kirsch (farm owner) and Wayne
Cullen (general manager) three or four
months before opening Volt,” he says. “The
farm started to raise goats for show, and
they kind of fell into cheesemaking with the
extra milk. Then, they became obsessed
with it. You can tell their passion behind it.
“I think some of the best farmers get started
like this. Their production was low and small
in the beginning but now has really grown,
but they have not sacrificed quality. That
really shows their commitment.”
FROM FARM TO FORK
LaClare Farms, Chilton, Wis., is one of many
farms producing goat cheese in America’s
Dairyland state. The farm’s Evalon aged goat’s
milk cheese won “best of show” out of 1,604
cheeses at the U.S. Championship Cheese
Contest in Green Bay, Wis., March 8-10.
“I was only the second female to win,
and this was the second goat cheese to
win the overall title,” says Katie Hedrich,
cheesemaker/marketer for LaClare Farms.
“We created Evalon because people in
the industry were saying there was no
good aged goat’s milk cheese made in the
U.S. We patterned it after a Gouda-style
cheese, and it actually becomes more like
a Parmesan. It’s aged for five months.”
Hedrich’s parents, Larry and Clara Hedrich,
opened the farm in 1978 as a hobby
farm and a place to bring up a family. As
the children got older and became more
involved, they started making cheese.
Today, LaClare Farms is milking about
350 goats and has a full-time staff of three,
including Katie’s father and brother Greg.
“My dad spoke with cheesemakers in
Wisconsin, and they said you need great
goat’s milk to make great cheese. They taught
him about sanitation, the care of the animals,
what they should eat and milk handling.
Animals should be comfortable and relaxed.”
Other goat’s milk cheeses made at
LaClare Farms include Evalon with
fenugreek, Evalon with cumin, fresh chevre
and Fondy Jack, which is patterned after
Monterey Jack cow’s milk cheese.
“A lot of chefs use our fresh chevre, as it’s
more of a cooking cheese,” Hedrich says.
“They use Evalon more for a cheese plate
to savor as a treat. Some chefs have been
asking us for a Crottin and other special
items. But what they really want is quality
over quantity. They want the quality to
shine through in the cheese.”
Harley Farms Goat Dairy, Pescadero, Calif.,
has a small staff that milks and cares for
its 100-plus goat herd. Owner Dee Harley
took over the farm 15 years ago.
According to Adriana Guzman, office
manager/special events for Harley Farms,
Redwood Hill Farm
Jennifer Bice, owner of Redwood Hill
Farm, has been inducted into the American
Cheese Society’s Academy of Cheese for
her work as a pioneer in goat cheese.
the farm supplies goat cheeses to many
restaurants in northern California, including
Navio at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay,
which uses Harley Farms ricotta. Spago
Beverly Hills uses the farm’s chevre.
“We try to stay local with the restaurants
we supply,” says Guzman. “Chefs like the
cheese because it has a real fresh taste
and not a real goaty taste. A judge at a
cheese competition said he could tell our
farm was on the coast because he could
taste the salt in the cheese.”
Harley Farms also makes a garlic/herb
fromage blanc, and the farm grows edible
flowers, which are used to decorate some
of the chevre cheeses.
Redwood Hill Farm has a staff of 50,
including cheesemakers, sales staff, and
those who milk and take care of the farm’s
300-350 goats and their kids. Owner
Bice, who was recently inducted into the