In Rougemont, North Carolina, there are probably some goats hanging out in a school bus right now. Maybe if Mary had brought one of these goats to school instead of a lamb, she would have had more luck (ba-dum chhhh). However, these goats are not headed to the classroom, but to the next pasture because Kathryn Spann and Dave Krabbe, owners of Prodigal Farm, are serious about pasture rotation. They move their goats from one paddock to the next in a big yellow bus because the new pastures have taller, higher-nutrient grass, and the unused land can recuperate. Prodigal Farm is also Animal Welfare Approved, meaning they are inspected every 11 months to ensure excellent treatment of their goats. They not only want to take care of their land, but also of their animals.
Heathy, happy goats make better cheese, and Prodigal Farm has some of our favorite new products. Field of Creams is a goat cheese that has rosemary, juniper berries, fennel, thyme, tellicherry pepper, and red pepper flakes in the rind of the small wheel. We don’t have many cheeses with other flavorings because we feel it can take away from the flavor of the cheese itself. However, the spices and herbs on a Field of Creams does not mask the goat cheese, but enhances it. These flavors are often already present in goat’s milk, with some goat cheese having a nice black pepper zing (a great example of this is Selvaggio from Sardinia), while others lean more in the herbal direction (like Tomme de Chèvre Cendré). Field of Creams highlights both qualities, boosted by the flavors in the rind. I think the cheese shop crew has bought most of the wheels we recieved because we have no self-control, so come by soon to try a taste!
Another goat’s milk cheese from Prodigal Farm that has taken up residence in our case is the Bearded Lady. This one is rubbed in ash and Penicillium roquforti, a blue mold, creating an interestingly sharp tasting rind, which melds well with the yeasty, lemony notes of the paste. We also have two of their cow’s milk cheeses, Spring Fever and Vache, which are newer to the Prodigal Farm roster. They are using milk from Reverence Farms, a cow dairy down the road from Prodigal that also is dedicated to treating their animals like queens. Both Spring Fever and Vache are very bright and acidic for cow’s milk cheeses with Spring Fever being slightly more aged at around a month and a half old, while Vache is the freshest of the fresh. It looks like a fresh goat cheese, but with a warm butter color that makes me want to spoon the whole jar into my mouth. My next food objective is to find a really good everything bagel and spread a thick layer of Vache on top, as recommended by Kathryn and Dave in their excellent newsletter…wanna join me?
For the love of cheese and the Prodigal Farm goats,