Thursday, September 3, 2009

Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese

I've been featuring "buy local" this week.

So far, I've featured a couple of my favorites, Boulder Ice Cream and Justin's Nut Butter, both of which were recipients of Whole Foods Local Producer Loan Program.

Today's featured product, Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese, was also a recipient of WFs loan program. You can read here about owner, Jim Schott's plans to expand his herd of goats, and his dairy with the loan.

I noticed as I perused Boulder's, Broadway Whole Foods sale items online, that Great Ocean Road, Australian Cheddar Cheese is on sale. Down from $7.99 to $4.99 lb, a savings of $3 lb is a great deal!

As much as I'd like to encourage you to dash out and buy cheese from my home country, while writing about the virtues of buying local I can't; I'd be a hypocrite if I did.

Warnambool Cheese and Butter
, which makes the Australian cheddar listed above, has a reputation in the same way that Gippsland Butter and Cheese had when I was growing up in the heart of the rural dairy industry in South Gippsland.

Many of my school friends lived on dairy farms and the milk from their family farms went to the butter factory in my small town of Korumburra. The butter factory was the main industry in Korumburra. So when the factory closed down, Korumburra struggled economically for some time. Eventually, tourism rebuilt the local economy, thankfully.

My mother was an avid supporter of local industry so even after the butter factory closed, and Gippsland cheese and butter was being produced at other factories, our fridge was always stocked with product made from the milk of the local dairy farmers.

In fact, when I left home and began to develop a taste for European cheeses, my mother was horrified for two reasons: "Why buy imported when there's nothing wrong with our cheese," she'd say. And after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, "Don't buy European cheese; all that radioactive fallout eaten by the cows will have infected their milk!"

Both were valid reasons for not eating imported cheese. Eventually I stopped eating cows milk cheese altogether -- that horrified my mother too, but at that point I was living in the U.S. As a result of being so far away, I was able to spare her the horror of witnessing directly my different dietary choices.

When soft white goat cheese came to Boulder, and I think Haystack was one of the first to appear on the shelves of Whole Foods, I was curious to try it, so I did, and I loved it.

I'm a bit of a purist, so my preference is Haystack's plainest or their cheese sans flavorings and herbs. With that in mind, their plain Chevre, Feta, Gouda, are my top picks.

If I want to add flavor to the Chevre, I can do it myself. In fact, it's creamy texture and mild flavor means Chevre lends itself to the addition of fresh cut herbs, which I've sprinkled on the top or mashed into the cheese with a fork. And it can also be sweetened with honey or fruit conserves, which again, I've either served to the side or mashed into the cheese.

Haystack feta I buy in chunks and use in all my Mediterranean style cooking, or to give cooked meals a Greek-style flavor. And I eat it plain, with crackers, chips, olives etc. The Gouda is a real treat, and I snatch it up whenever it's on sale, or for that matter any of the Haystack cheeses I prefer.

The selection of Haystack cheeses has grown over the years, from the early days of plain Chevre to more recent additions like their award-winning aged, Red Cloud.

You'll find Haystack cheese a little on the pricey side, but then cheese is kind of spendy these days anyway. Fortunately, Whole Foods often has great deals on Haystack so I'm always on the lookout

And to be sure, I always buy Boulder-made Haystack cheese over imported goat cheese, and not just because this would make my mother happy, but because it's the best!

1 comment:

Julie said...

I really appreciate the article on Good Belly. I think it is great!