Using the rich, high-butterfat milk produced by our goats, we create a variety of soft cheeses during the milking season, which runs from May through December.
We always have chevre, a traditional soft goat cheese – sold both plain and flavored, this simple, spreadable cheese has been a huge hit. Part of the fun for us is experimenting with out-of-the-ordinary flavor combinations – honey lemon ginger, pumpkin curry, black truffle, smoky pepper, and key lime pie are just a few of the flavors that have emerged from the Took a Leap Farm creamery!
We also produce a goats’ milk feta, which has caused many of our fans to swear off its grocery store cousins. The balance of the tangy goats’ milk and the salty brine makes for a real taste treat on salads, in cooking, or nibbled straight from the tray!
As a state-licensed dairy, we follow a strict protocol to ensure consistently high-quality products. Federal law requires that all fresh cheeses – those aged for less than 60 days – be made with pasteurized or heat-treated milk. We work in very small batches – no more than 10 gallons of milk at a time. After collecting the necessary milk, we head into the makeroom and heat up our trusty steam kettle, bringing the milk to a temperature of 145° Fahrenheit and holding it there for 30 minutes.
Once the heat-treating process is complete, we quickly cool the milk to the desired temperature for cheesemaking – between 72° and 86°, depending on the type of cheese being made. We add a combination of cheese cultures, which acidify the milk, and vegetable rennet, which causes the milk to coagulate. Like Miss Muffet, we end up with curds (the milk solids) and whey (the liquid); the curds are gently strained from the whey and drained for a period of time, again depending on the variety of cheese being produced. The end result? Rich, slightly tangy cheese that allows the quality of our goats’ milk to shine through. Many people who have never had goat cheese – or who have and didn’t care for it – have been very pleasantly surprised by our products. Creating goat cheese aficionados is one of our happiest and proudest moments! Our fresh cheeses are sold locally only. (We’re sorry that we aren’t able to ship our cheese – we aren’t producing enough cheese to meet that demand right now, plus shipping is really – we mean really – expensive. Instead, we encourage you to support the local cheesemakers in your community by purchasing their products!)