To make great cheese, you need great milk, and only happy, healthy animals can provide it. Keeping a herd of over 1,000 animals healthy is a tall order on its own, but imagine doing it without the help of antibiotics or conventional feed — that’s just what Spanish goat farm Santa Gadea is doing everyday.
The Daily Meal recently did a write-up of the increasingly popular farm, located in Castilla y Léon (you’ll remember we wrote about them, t00). Touted as Europe’s only 100% sustainable and organic farm, they’ve not only developed their own biotechnology for use in their composting, but they’re also committed to reforesting their land and are completely carbon-negative. The farm utilizes solar and wind power, and wastes so little that they have no need for garbage service. And all that hard work pays off in deliciously fresh cheese.
As for the cheese’s taste: in spite of being a goat’s milk cheese, Santa Gadea has a very minimal “goaty” bite. Their Red Label (aged five weeks) is soft ripened and pasteurized, with a smooth flavor that intensifies as the cheese ages and has hints of coconut when the cheese is young. The aging process takes place in caves with automatic control of temperature and humidity, and this highly controlled environment coaxes out the subtle flavor layers. As the cheese ages, a distinct smokiness develops – a pungent kick with a soft aftertaste that is slightly acidic but very pleasant.
With their growing popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, Santa Gadea is setting an impressive precedent for what an independent family farm can accomplish. Interested in other sustainable cheesemakers? Check out our Green Cheese series, full of cheesemakers from around the country doing sustainability their way.
Photo credit: Photo of assorted Santa Gadea goat cheese from Santa Gadea