Tucked away on a narrow and winding dirt road just east of Springfield, Missouri, Lesley and Barry Million are making notable farmstead goat cheeses at Terrell Creek Farm. While attending one of their monthly cheese dinners on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago, not only was I introduced to their tasty curds (the queso fresco and camembert-style “The Dude” were stand outs), but also to their parents, children, staff, and neighbors.
At the Cheese Nights on the Farm this August, the menu featured lavender, watermelon and basil.
When asked the reason behind these enchanting dinner nights at the farm, and the mingling with the goats, Lesley Million said their customers were constantly asking to come and visit the farm.
“Being a working farm, we are very busy and having visitors out is not always convenient. However, we feel that it is important to connect with our customers and give them the opportunity to see what we do here. The Cheese Nights are a way for our customers to see the farm and facility where their food comes from, meet the goats, and to get to know us (the farmers) a little better.”
Lesley said that Culture and the ACS too played a part in their decision to start hosting the Cheese Nights on the Farm. “My degree is actually in art education and I was inspired by pictures of cheese trays that I kept seeing online. I thought, “I can do that!”. I developed a real desire to create large beautiful cheese boards but I needed people to feed them to! (Lastly) making a living with a small farmstead goat cheese dairy can be financially challenging. We made the decision to diversify a little by adding agrotourism and cheesemaking classes to boost our revenue a little.”
There is no better way to enjoy a maker’s goods than in a dish they cooked themselves, served in their own backyard, surrounded by the twinkle of fireflies and good cheer of new friends. Each time I’ll take a bite of their tangy, creamy chevre, I will be instantly reminded of that beautiful summer evening and the generosity of the Millions. A travel experience that keeps on giving.
And here are a few recipes courtesy my lovely hosts at the farm, for you to try out. Bon Appétit!
- 4 cups goat milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups Chevre
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine ingredients well. Place into chilled ice cream canister and follow directions on the ice cream makers manual.
- 8 cups watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes and seeded
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- juice from 2 limes
- 4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Table spoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Gently toss all ingredients in a bowl and chill before serving.
- 8 ounces Chevre
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons drained capers
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
- 4 ounces smoked trout, roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- 2 Tablespoon fresh chopped chives
- salt to taste
- Combine the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended. Transfer to a bowl and stir in smoked trout, dill, chives and salt as needed. Serve with crackers or bagel chips.