Posts Tagged ‘Humboldt County, CA’



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Frankhauser’s Cheesemaking




New England Cheese Making Supply Company


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By Malinda Geisler, content specialist, AgMRC, Iowa State University and revised March 2009 by Diane Huntrods, AgMRC, Iowa State University.

For more information or specific inquiries, please contact Madeline Schultz at schultz@iastate.edu.

Dairy goat milk and goat cheese (chevre) continue to see slow, steady growth trends as consumers are becoming more aware of the higher protein and lower cholesterol levels found in the products. Goat milk is regarded as a natural source of nutrients, an alternative to cow’s milk and easy to digest.

Dairy goat producers rely on direct market sales for milk and cheese products. Farmers’ markets and Internet sales also offer market outlets. Some producers sell directly to retail stores and restaurants.

In the United States, dairy goats are found in every state, but the largest number reside in Wisconsin (40,000 head), California (37,000 head), Iowa (24,500 head) and Texas (20,000 head). As of January 1, 2009, the United States had 335,000 milk goats, up 4 percent from 2008.

According to NASS, milk goats were raised on 27,400 farms in 2007. Texas reported having 2,100 milk goat operations,  California reported 1,400 milk goat operations and Pennsylvania reported 1,300 milk goat operations. Wisconsin and three other states–Michigan, New York and Washington–reported having 1,100 milk goat operations. 

The major dairy goat breeds include Alpine, LaMancha, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen and Toggenburg. All of these breeds are capable of producing more than 2,000 pounds of milk per year. Yet, the United States imports more than 50 percent of the dairy goat cheese products consumed, most of that coming from France.

Value-added Uses
Goat milk is used for making cheese, yogurt and ice cream, and can be fed to other animals. In many states, the sale of raw or unpasteurized goat milk is illegal. Raw milk can be used to make cheese as long as the cheese ages 60 days or more before sale. Pasteurized milk must be used for fresh cheese. Another possible dairy goat product is soap.

In the past decade, goat cheese was regarded as one of the fastest-growing segments within specialty cheese. Although goat’s milk can be used to make any sort of cheese, the cheeses traditionally made from goat’s milk include feta, gjetost, chabichou and pyramide. Regardless of the variety, goat cheese is gourmet. Restaurants are using goat cheese on everything from salads, pizzas and entrees to dessert.

Like dairy cow cheese, the demand for reduced-fat goat cheese has significantly increased. Because the crumbly properties of goat cheese make the reduced-fat variety similar to the original in taste and texture, some specialty cheesemakers are focusing on this niche market.

Dairy goat products will likely continue to occupy an important, expanding niche market. Challenges include the seasonality of milk production. Maintaining a uniform, year-round supply of goat milk is difficult due to seasonal reproductive cycles. Goat products are specialty food products and are not commonly found in mainstream grocery stores.

Until recently, federal regulations required that cheeses aged less than 60 days be made from pasteurized milk, preventing raw milk cheese from being exported. However, in September 2007, the U.S. government approved a raw milk health certificate that enabled U.S. cheesemakers to tap a new market, the European Union raw milk cheese market.



  • California Goat Cheese, Part 2, New Farm magazine – Two different goat dairies use direct marketing to sell products.
  • Canadian Dairy Goat, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2006.
  • Dairy Goat Enterprise Budget, University of Wisconsin, 2003 – This budget, written in Excel 2000, includes an example, a test budget and two blank budget formats.
  • Dairy Goat Library – Provides education and support to goat milk producers.
  • Dairy Goat Production Guide, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, 2003.
  • Dairy Goats, Babcock Institute for International Dairy Research and Development, University of Wisconsin.
  • Dairy Goats: Sustainable Production, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA), NCAT, 2004 – This online publication overviews five major considerations when planning for dairy goat production.
  • Goat Milk Cheese Manufacturing, E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Oklahoma – This site reviews the steps to making cheddar, low-fat cream cheese and mozzarella.
  • Milk Goats; Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations: 2008 Summary; NASS; USDA; 2009.
  • Quality Assurance from Milking to Processing, E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Oklahoma – The manufacturing of goat milk products like fluid milk, cheese and ice cream are subject to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. A standard operating procedure must be in place on dairy goat farms.
  • Sample Costs for a 500-Head Dairy Goat Operation, University of California Cooperative Extension, 2005.

Businesses/Case Studies

  • A Not So Raw Deal, New Farm magazine, 2005 – This dairy produces 13,500 gallons of goat milk a year, which the owner sells direct to consumers as yogurt, soft cheeses, feta and in its raw form.
  • Chatham dairy owners to share success story, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, 2004 – The owners of Celebrity Dairy, www.celebritydairy.com, make goat cheese and operate a bed and breakfast.
  • Coonridge Organic Goat Cheese, New Mexico – This 300-acre farm sells cheese from certified organic, free-range goats.
  • Dairy Farmer Takes Time to Reassess the Real Meaning of Success, New Farm magazine, 2003 – At Dancing Winds Farm in Minnesota, inadequate labor led the owner to scale back the goat dairy and develop a bed and breakfast.
  • FireFlyFarms Organic, Inc., Bittinger, Maryland – This farm’s artisan cheeses are all made by hand with milk from their own goats.
  • Greenglade Goat Milk Specialties, Martell, Nebraska – When too many goats produced too much milk , Diana McCown opened a licensed goat dairy and began selling goat cheese. A decade later, McCown expanded her business to include a cheese plant, which was completed in 2008.
  • Iowa Group Adds Value to Goat Herd, Market to Market, Iowa Public Television, 2002 – Northern Prairie Chevre creates gourmet soft goat cheese in central Iowa. 
  • Poplar Hill Dairy Goat Farm, Scandia, Minnesota – This farm sells Grade A goat milk and goat cheese products.
  • Spinning Spider Creamery, Marshall, North Carolina. Renewing the Countryside – Chris Owen switched from raising Angora goats to raising dairy goats. Now her herd of 50 Saanen dairy goats provide the milk for her fresh chevre, feta, gouda and raw milk cheddar cheeses.
  • Valuing labor and improving efficiency on an integrated farm, Center for Integrated Ag Systems, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004 – Using milk from their goats to make goat milk soap was a way to accomplish this farm family’s goals.

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1.  When buying cheese, it’s best to find a reliable source, such as a specialty market, cheese shop, or gourmet foods store that specializes in cheeses.  Often, your local farmer’s market and a cheesemaker’s Web site are excellent resources, as you will often speak directly to the cheesemakers, who will ensure that the products are in the best possible condition.  When using a retail store, you will want to make sure that the staff is knowledgeable and that turnover is swift.  Those consumers that are the most fortunate will live in larger cities and have cut-to-order or cut-and-wrap retailers.

2.  Check the labels, especially on fresh cheeses, to make sure that the product is well within its expiration date.  For larger cheeses that are cut down to smaller amounts, the store label should also include an expiration date near the weight and price amounts.  If a cheese is reduced in price for quick sale, it’s generally not a bargain, and your experience will be a less than happy one.

3.  Check the condition of the cheese, especially for aroma, appearance, and flavor.  Less desirable characteristics include ammonia, sour milk, barnyardy or unclean aromas.  Further, the cheeses should be characteristic of their style, with an interior that is free of cracks, discoloration, and mold (unless it is a blue cheese).  Note that natural rind cheeses, may have a rustic appearance, which is one of their attributes.  When possible, taste the cheese before you buy.  This is much easier in a cut-and-wrap environment.  If you are unable to taste the cheese but want to give it a try, buy the smallest amount possible.

4.  Because of the wide variety of dietary concerns and restrictions, check labels for the type of milk (cow, goat, sheep) from which the cheese was made, whether it is a pasteurized or raw milk, and whether it uses animal, vegetal, or microbial rennet.  If the label doesn’t say, ask.  A good cheesemonger will be able to tell you and will be happy to steer you in the right direction, especially if religious, dietary, or animal rights concerns govern your diet.  At present, product ingredient labeling is inconsistent, but most good cheesemakers will supply the most important information on their labels.

5.  In general, buy only as much cheese as you will be able to consume within a few days.  If the cheese is wrapped in plastic at purchase, rewrap the cheese as soon as possible in waxed or parchment paper, as air and moisture are integral to keeping the cheese in the best possible condition.  If you get a cheese that is over the hill, return it to the store and ask for a replacement or a refund; most retailers are willing to keep their customers happy.

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The types of cheeses produced in the Americas continue to grow and expand, fueled by market demand and knowledge gained by cheesemakers.  The numbers of new cheeses being offered, from specialty, artisanal, and farmstead cheesemakers, have dramatically increased over the last decade, resulting in literally hundreds of cheeses being available in supermarkets, specialty stores, farmer’s markets and via the Internet.Cheeses produced in the United States may be made from cow, goat, or sheep’s milk or a blend.  Federal Department of Agriculture regulations require that any cheese aged fewer than 60 days be made from pasteurized milk; however, those cheeses aged beyond 60 days may be made from non-pasteurized, or “raw,” milk.

Like wines and other fine foods, the best way to decide on your favorites is to taste them, and any good cheese monger will be happy to provide a sample before you buy.  And always remember to buy only as much as you can consume within a few days.  Most modern refrigerators will dry out cheeses over long periods of time.  The best place to store refrigerated cheese, because of its high humidity level, is the vegetable compartment, usually located at the bottom of the refrigerator.
The brief guide below is designed to help the consumer with general descriptions of the cheeses found in most regional markets. It is by no means meant to be a comprehensive guide, as many cheeses sometimes fit more than one category.  It is meant, however, to give the basic characteristics of cheeses and their counterparts, which may be the most easily recognizable. 

Fresh Cheeses

The term “fresh” is used to describe cheeses that have not been aged, or are very slightly cured.  These cheeses have a high moisture content and are usually mild and have a very creamy taste and soft texture.  These may be made from all types of milk and in the United States, these cheeses will always be pasteurized.  It is always best not to buy fresh cheeses if they are not going to be consumed before the expiration date indicated on the package, as they are highly perishable.  Cheeses in the Fresh category include Italian Style Mascarpone, and Ricotta, Chevre, Feta, Cream Cheese, Quark and Cottage Cheese.

Soft-Ripened Cheeses

The term “soft-ripened” is used to describe cheeses that are ripened from the outside in, very soft and even runny at room temperature.  The most common soft-ripened cheeses have a white, bloomy rind that is sometimes flecked with red or brown.  The rind is edible and is produced by spraying the surface of the cheese with a special mold, called penicillium candidum, before the brief aging period. In the United States soft-ripened cheeses are generally produced from pasteurized milk.  Cheeses in the soft-ripened category include brie and camembert styles, triple crèmes, as well as particular branded cheeses produced throughout North America.

Semi-soft Cheeses

The term “semi-soft” is used to describe cheeses that have a smooth, generally, creamy interior with little or no rind.  These cheeses are generally high in moisture content and range from very mild in flavor to very pungent.  Semi-soft cheeses may be made from both pasteurized and raw milk, depending on the aging requirements and the style the cheesemaker is creating.  Cheeses in the semi-soft category include many blue cheeses, colby, fontina styles, havarti and Monterey Jack.  Many washed rind cheeses fall into this category and are described separately.

Firm/Hard Cheeses

The terms “firm” and “hard” are used to describe a very broad category of cheeses.  Their taste profiles range from very mild to sharp and pungent.  They generally have a texture profile that ranges from elastic, at room temperature, to the hard cheeses that can be grated.  These cheeses may be made from pasteurized or raw milk, depending on the cheese and the cheesemaker.  Cheeses in this category include gouda styles, most cheddars, dry jack, Swiss (Emmenthaler) styles, Gruyere styles, many “tomme” styles and Parmesan styles.

Blue Cheeses

The term “blue” is used to describe cheeses that have a distinctive blue/green veining, created when the penicillium roqueforti mold, added during the cheesemaking make process, is exposed to air.  This mold provides a distinct flavor to the cheese, which ranges from fairly mild to assertive and pungent.  Blue cheeses are found in all of the categories above, except for fresh cheeses.  Blue cheeses may be made from both pasteurized and raw milk, depending on the age of the cheese and the cheesemaker.  Blue cheeses may be made in many styles, the most common being the French (roquefort), Italian (gorgonzola) and Danish blue styles.

Pasta Filata Cheese

The term “pasta filata” is applied to a whole family of cheeses, mostly of Italian origin.  The pasta filata cheeses are cooked and kneaded, or “spun,” as the name implies.  This family of cheeses can range from very fresh to hard grating cheeses, depending on the cheese and the producer.  The pasta filata family of cheeses includes Italian style Mozzarella, Provolone, and Scamorza.

Natural Rind Cheeses

 “Natural rind” cheeses have rinds that are self-formed during the aging process.  Generally, no molds or microflora are added, nor is washing used to create the exterior rinds, and those that do exhibit molds and microflora in their rinds get them naturally from the environment. Because most natural rind cheeses are aged for many weeks, to develop their flavor as well as the rinds, many natural rind cheeses are made from raw milk.  Many “tomme” style cheeses fall into this category, especially the French Tomme de Savoie and Mimolette, as well as the English Stilton (also a blue), and Lancashire cheeses.

Washed Rind Cheeses

“Washed rind” is used to describe those cheeses that are surface-ripened by washing the cheese throughout the ripening/aging process with brine, beer, wine, brandy, or a mixture of ingredients, which encourages the growth of bacteria. The exterior rind of washed rind cheeses may vary from bright orange to brown,  with flavor and aroma profiles that are quite pungent, yet the interior of these cheeses is most often semi-soft and, sometimes, very creamy.  Washed rind cheeses may be made from both pasteurized and raw milk, depending on the style of the cheese and the cheesemaker producing them.  Cheeses in this category include some tomme-style cheeses, triple-crème, and semi-soft cheeses, similar to Epoisses, Livarot and Taleggio.

Processed Cheeses

The term “processed” is used to describe cheese by-products made from a combination of natural cheese and added ingredients, such as stabilizers, emulsifiers, and flavor enhancers that are used to create a consistent and shelf-stable product aimed at mass market consumption.  Cheeses in this category include American Cheese, processed cheese spreads, and “cheese flavored” spreads.

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100 gallon used vat pasteurizer with steam boiler, moulds, racks, sinks and trays…happy days!  Now the hard part, putting it all together and inspecting before certification.   Now on to building modifications and enhancements.  We need a storage container preferably a refrigerator unit.  Hi cube 40 foot maybe 20.  Wooden cheese racks are on the horizon.  Did someone say cheese cave?

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