Yesterday, I shared a great organic food find: Coonridge Organic Goat Cheese. (Click here to read the blog entry.) I asked owner Nancy Nathanya Coonridge to share her thoughts on what it means to her, as a dairy farmer, to go organic. Her responses follow.
Why is it important to you to offer an organic product?
Being certified organic is a major part of what I am doing at my dairy. I want to make the best possible cheese. My goats, their milk and cheeses are all certified organic. I flavor my cheeses with certified organic herbs and oils because I want all those ingredients to be of the highest quality: GMO-free and without additives. Plus, it is what I can do to protect the Earth’s environment.
Any issues with shipping cheese during the summer months?
Coonridge Organic Goat Cheese ships without refrigeration at any time of year. I start with a living culture and then cover the cheese with herbed oils. The herbs and oil are part of the wonderful flavor of the cheese, but also serve to protect the cheese from the air so it cannot mold. It is continuing to age, so I ask people to refrigerate it on arrival to stop the aging process.
Part of my project at the dairy has been to make the cheeses that people made before there was refrigeration. These include cheeses submerged in oil, as my fromages are, or those made with salt, as in my feta cheeses.
What makes your goat cheese mild?
Healthy goats eating good feed produce excellent milk. If we take special care of the milk, the cheese will have that same excellent flavor. Goat cheese does not have to be strong and “goaty.” In France, they crave the stronger flavors, but I make my cheese for American tastes. Having my goats eating the wild feed they evolved to eat makes for a great and unique flavor.
Photo of the Coonridge goats courtesy of Nancy Nathanya Coonridge