Hi Everyone, I am Eric and I make all of the cheese here at Gretta’s Goats. When we started our farm it was fun to steal some milk from the soap making business and whip up a batch of fresh goat cheese. Cheese making seemed to be a logical yet daunting addition to Gretta’s Goats. While making a small batch of cheese for a cocktail party or to share with friends was relatively simple, the task of making a batch of cheese that could be sold to our customers was a long process.
We worked for nearly 2 years planning and working with the health department to build out and ultimately license the creamery on our farm. We poured our savings, our sweat and generous grant contributions from Frontera Farmer Foundation to make it all happen.
Our creamery is seasonal. We tend to see a decrease in milk production on the same day that I scratch my head in late August and wonder where all of the day light has gone! We continue to milk until the end of October or so. This provides a nice break for the goats and the farmers too.
Our creamery was licensed in the late summer of 2016. We began making a very simple farmstead chevre or goat cheese. We use milk from our goats, pasteurize that milk, culture it, drain it, whip it with a little salt and off it goes to market.
Over the winter of 2018, we began experimenting with a recipe for feta cheese. In our life before goats, Gretta and I spent 2 weeks in the mountains of Romania. Each morning for breakfast we were offered farm fresh products. The Pension were we stayed made a simple feta cheese. It was creamy, salty, and a little funky. I was hooked.
After making numerous batches of less than perfect feta, I cracked the code for that cheese that I devoured most mornings in Romania. Our feta uses only goat milk. Most feta made in the US is made with milk from cows or sometimes a blend of cow and goat milks. The cheese is semi firm, and is brined for 7 days.
At markets customers ask how we like to use our cheese. That is often a tough and varied answer. Either cheese is great by itself. Serve it with some fresh vegetables, a simple cracker or a rustic piece of bread. Our good friend and farmers market neighbor Tamara thinks its best eaten with a spoon!
The chevre seems to shine when heated and paired with cooked tomatoes. Finish a plate of pasta with red sauce with our chevre. Dollops of the cheese will take a wood fired pizza to a new level. We have it most days in a simple frittata made with our pasture raised eggs. Our friend Tracy whips our honey into the cheese to make a delightful dessert.
The chevre is soft, spreadable and is an empty canvas. During scape season, we dice garlic scapes and mix them into the cheese. If you can source some black garlic go for it. Mash the black garlic gloves into a paste and then mix them into the cheese.
The feta is lovely on a fresh green salad or cube it, add some olives, garlic and some mediteranean spice and a bit of olive oil. Or how about topping a grass fed burger with a couple of generous slices? Slice it into wedges and serve it on a charcuterie platter.
Below are listed a couple of easy favorites.
Herbed Goat Cheese
¼ pound Gretta’s Goats Farmstead Cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 chives finely chopped
¼ cup Parsley finely chopped
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend completely. Form mixture into a ball and place in refrigerator for 3 hours to allow flavors to blend.
Allow cheese to warm to room temperature and serve with crackers, bread, top burgers, or dip veggies.
Simple Tomato Cucumber Feta Salad
1 Container of cherry or grape tomatoes – sliced in half
1 english cucumber -sliced
¼ pound of Gretta’s Goats Feta – crumbled
¼ bunch of cilantro – chopped
2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic – minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cumin
- For dressing, add ingredients to small mixing bowl and whisk together
- For salad – add prepared ingredients to medium mixing bowl and combine.
- Drizzle dressing over salad ingredients just prior to serving.