August is here, and along with welcoming the thick of summer, we’re celebrating National Goat Cheese Month! Why August? According to the American Goat Federation, August can be an especially notable month for goat cheese due to the wide variety of food choices available to goats this time of year. Access to summer’s bounty can make for more flavorful milk and, thus, more flavorful cheese. Read on to learn more about goat cheese, meet some of the producers whose goat cheese you’ll find at Seward Co-op, and get ideas for using and pairing this tangy family of cheeses.
All About Chèvre
Goat’s milk has long been consumed by humans: for more than 7,000 years! Because of their smaller size and agility, goats require less open pasture to graze than cows, making them one of the first animals to be domesticated to produce milk, with cheese not far behind. Historically, South Sudan and France have been the top producers of goat cheese, with the French word “chèvre” referring to a whole category of goat cheese: the rindless white logs of fresh, unaged, creamy cheese that are often flavored with ingredients like honey, fruit, herbs, and more. Though chèvre is a popular style, goat cheese comes in many other varieties, from cheddars to mozzarellas, muensters to fetas, bries to goudas.
You Can’t *Bleat* the Goat Cheese Selection at Seward Co-op
Seward Co-op has a wide variety of goat cheeses to help you celebrate this August. Meet a few of our Community Foods producers making these versatile cheeses.
LaClare Creamery is a family-run farm in Wisconsin that only sources milk from local goat farmers within a 15 mile radius from the creamery. Named for founders Larry and Clara Hedrich, who started what would become LaClare Creamery with just two goats in the late 70s, this small-scale Community Foods producer is a master at chèvre, with flavors ranging from fig and honey to apple cinnamon, blueberry vanilla, and more.
Blakesville Creamery, one of our newer Community Foods producers, is a farmstead creamery, meaning that their cheeses are handmade on the same farm where their goats are raised and milked. Their top priority is raising goats humanely to produce the best possible milk, which in turn is reflected in the high quality of their cheeses. Their line of creamy and complex flavors, many with delicious, creative rinds, is complimented by their beautifully illustrated labels. Read more about Blakesville here.
Donnay Dairy, based in Kimball, Minn., is a small-scale, family-run farm that specializes in handcrafted, small batches of chèvre. Owners Brad and Leanne Donnay are the fourth generation to run the farm, which was founded in the 1900s. Tending to a small herd of Saanan dairy goats, the Donnay family firmly believes the great taste of their cheese is tied directly to the health of their animals.
Natural Valley Goat Cheese from Pasture Pride
Natural Valley Goat Cheese is made by Community Foods producer Pasture Pride, located in the heart of Wisconsin’s Amish country. Cheesemaker Tom Torkelson has been making classic Wisconsin cheeses for over 25 years. Much of his milk comes from small-scale Amish farms, which practice extensive pasture grazing and sustainable practices. Natural Valley goat cheeses made by Pasture Pride are created with minimal environmental impact. They pride themselves on making every day cheeses like cheddar, Colby-jack, and mozzarella. Read more about Natural Valley here.
Enjoy Goat Cheese with Recipes and Pairings
Goat cheese has found its way into a wide variety of cuisines and dishes, from salads to tapas to desserts and more. Try these recipes and cheese board pairings this August and year-round.
Asparagus and Pea Salad, Using Natural Valley Cheddar
Learn to make this fresh start to any meal with the video below, and find the recipe here.
Chevre, Fig, and Honey Pizzas
Try these sweet and tangy mini pizzas highlighting the delicious pairing between soft, spreadable goat cheese and rich figs. Find the recipe here.
Seasonal Cheese Boards
With so many flavors and textures of cheese to choose from, engage your taste buds with a few different varieties. You can choose your own adventure when building a cheese board and co-op staff are eager to connect community members to different cheeses. Try this set of parings.