American Goat Cheese: Greatest Of All Time?
Discover New York and Connecticut’s artisan cheese producers with Chef Phil McGrath
It wasn’t so long ago that the French monopolized the goat-cheese market. American chefs had to score their crottins, bouchons, and pyramids from the tightly controlled cartel in order to satisfy their chèvre fix.
How things have changed. Today, both professionals and home cooks alike can choose from wonderful, local sources, and their vast variety of wares.
Coach Farms’ (Pine Plains, New York) products are “farmstead,” meaning they are involved in every step of the milk’s metamorphosis from breeding the goats to producing the cheese. They have a closed herd of more than 800 Alpine goats, supplementing their diets with all-natural alfalfa and soybeans.
Mark Newbold, head cheesemaker, transforms more than 1.5 million pounds of fresh milk annually (10 lbs of milk = 1 lb of cheese) into yogurt drinks, Greek-style goat yogurt, and a variety of fresh and aged cheeses.
On a less staggering scale is The Butterfield Farm Company, which was founded in 2009 in Suffield, Connecticut. They are farmstead as well and 100 Nubian and Saanen goats forage their fields. Their products range from yogurts to tommes, but also include a line of bath and body products derived from—you guessed it—goat's milk.
Michael Hearl runs the farm and Tara Bryson makes the cheese. Bryson always talks about her progeny with the caveat that “Each batch of Butterfield Farm cheese will be unique,” based upon her does’ diet and the aging process. She also names her cheeses using an initial from her beloved goat companions that have passed away. Names like Selebration Cheddar and Meadow Zew Tomme pay respect to their service.
As the French might grudgingly say, Vive la chèvre Americain!