“I’ve traveled the world. I’ve tried every drink, food, and drug known to man. I’ve known many a beautiful lady. But let me tell you: Nothing, nothing, nothing in this world is so good as cheese.”
– Scotsman encountered in a bar once
While writing to Minnesotans, I suspect I don’t have to spend very much time making a case for cheese. You love cheese. You picked up this magazine at a store with two separate sections exclusively for it.
But you may be overlooking one very important kind of cheese. Cows do many amazing things, yet they can never give us chèvre, a light, creamy, clean tasting cheese with an ever so mild tanginess. We need goats to give us chèvre, which is why we have The Humble Goat of Rockville, Minnesota.
The Humble Goat is owned by Frankie and Dave Lenzmeier. Frankie had been working as an actress in Los Angeles when the two kindled a long-distance romance. Hollywood would not have you think that all the good men are in Minnesota, but in truth they are here, and many of them raise goats. The two soon married and began tending Dave’s 600 dairy goats together.
In time, the Lenzmeiers found it more practical to let others raise and milk goats while they tended solely to cheesemaking. They sent their flock to live on reputable nearby farms, arranged to buy their milk, and began making chèvre that would curl your toes.
At this point the Lenzmeiers also founded the Happy Goat Program. It is in essence a goatherd’s dogma, by which they promise to treat their goats in the fashion which goats like best. A Happy Goat Program goat has carte blanche access to choice water and vegetarian feed at all times. They are guaranteed bedding, shelter, pedicures, medicine, ample pasture, and freedom from cruelty at all times. Had James Madison been born a goat, he would have fathered the Happy Goat Program.
Goats give fine milk when they are treated lovingly. That milk goes to The Humble Goat’s state of the art creamery, where it is kept chilled at ideal temperatures and handled only by dedicated food handlers. The dairy is so advanced that it is one of very few qualified to make baby formula. This is fitting, as goats were often employed as surrogate nannies to orphans in medieval Europe.
“Making great chèvre requires a lot of elements,” said Frankie. “Happy Goat Program farms don’t let their buck goats mingle with their doe goats. A buck may wish that were otherwise, but unfortunately for him he gives off a pheromone that is known to make a doe’s milk more sour and pungent. We take in only the freshest milk available from our local suppliers, which we then salt, churn, and cook to perfection. Unlike many other cheeses, chèvre isn’t aged, so we make sure ours goes from creamery to store shelf in the shortest time possible.
“From all of this care we make the tastiest chèvre in the world. It is high in protein with more calcium than a cow cheese, low in fat, and has a flavor so versatile it can be used for anything. Our customers put our chèvre on salads and flatbreads, in cream sauces and prosciutto wraps, and anywhere else they might have put regular cheese. You haven’t tried the best cheeseburger until you’ve had one with chèvre.
“My oldest daughter refused to eat chèvre until she mistook some for cream cheese when she was 12 years old. She put it on crackers and said ‘Mom, this is delicious!’ Imagine her surprise when she learned she finally fell in love with goat cheese in spite of herself.”
The Humble Goat’s fine chèvre is available plain, as well as flavored with cranberry, blueberry, honey, and garlic and herbs. While I hesitate to mention where you can find the cheese in a magazine distributed through Cub Foods, let’s just say it’s at all large Twin Cities grocery stores with a Polish name that starts with the letter K. You can learn more about The Humble Goat at thehumblegoat.com.
By David Scheller