Steve and Veronica Baetje have been making cheese at Baetje Farms in the foothills of the Ozarks since 2006. The Batjes keep a large herd of Saanen dairy goats, and along with six employees produce cheeses from March to November, selling them largely in the metropolitan St. Louis area.
Steve and Veronica wake up at 3 am each day to milk their 53 goats, and spend the rest of the day turning that milk into cheese. Goats receive an unlimited supply of filtered spring water to drink from the farm’s spring, and their diet—an all-natural antibiotic-free whole grain ration—is supplemented with organic herbal teas, organic mineral supplements, locally grown alfalfa hay, and the farm’s pasture. The milking season begins in spring and ends in winter, giving the goats a break for several months a year.
Baetje Farms’ chevres are heart-shaped and speckled with a range of flavorings. They’re sold when they’re soft, creamy and fresh. In summer the Baetjes use 100% goat’s milk to make the cheese, and in winter a blend of goat and sheep’s milks may be used.
The photo features the Herbe & 3 Pepper variation, but other flavorings include Cranberry Orange, Pumpkin Walnut and Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.