By Chris Burns
12:40 PM EDT, March 26, 2013
Americans have long championed the health benefits of cow's milk. Milk produced by heifers has long been the staple in bowls of Rice Krispies cereal and packages of Cabot's Vermont Cheddar. But dairy products made from goat's milk are growing in popularity.
Goat cheese, or chevre (from the French word for goat), is one of the most popular products sold by farms across Connecticut. From Suffield to Lebanon, family farms raise goats, producing locally made cheese that can put the grocery store's pasteurized section to shame.
Beltane Farm, of Lebanon, was the first goat farm in recent Connecticut history when it opened almost 15 years ago, says owner Paul Trubey. The secret to his cheeses' success, he says, is that his goats "have a very high quality of life." Trubey says that his goat cheeses are featured in restaurants across the state, and have even spread as far as Boston and Rhode Island eateries.
For the 2013 season, Trubey will be introducing two new products to market: goat blue cheese, and wasabi chevre. In addition, he is continuing a new product from the fall season, his Sundance fresh ricotta, which has been aged to a mozzarella-like quality. Beltane also plans on offering Tasting Sundays again this spring, with goat-cheese tastings every Sunday in May. Tastings will run from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. at Beltane Farm, 59 Taylor Bridge Road, Lebanon.
Butterfield Farm, of Suffield, has been producing goat products since 2009. Alongside its regular lineup of fresh cheeses, the farm plans on unveiling two new kinds of "blue veined" products for this season, says owner Tara Bryson. According to Bryson, the first is a "hard-aged cheese called Bluebell... with a mild blue development but sharp, almost cheddar-like flavor and texture." The second is a "variation of the first, [called] Baby Bluebell; it's a soft, bloomy-rind blue cheese."
Though Bryson operates a farm store on the historic Hastings Farm in Suffield, Butterfield cheeses can also be found at farmers markets, farm stands, and natural food shops in Connecticut and New York, as well as at numerous regional restaurants. Butterfield Farm is located at 472 Hill St., Suffield.
Rustling Winds is a small farm in Falls Village that raises horses and sells cheese, jams, pickles and maple products. The Lamothe family had been operating Rustling Wind Stables and Dairy for around a century. In 1998, when faced with increased production costs, owner Joan Lamothe began crafting cheese with the help of master cheesemaker Florence Brocklehurst.
In addition to its 30-horse stables and other offerings, the farm operates a goat cheese creamery on site. This year's offerings will include pressed plain chevre, herb-pressed chevre (a small-batch cheese), and a soft herb spread. The store is at 148 Canaan Mountain Road in Falls Village.