What’s the secret to delicious goat’s milk cheese? Keeping goats happy, according to Prodigal Farm’s owners Dave Krabbe and Kathryn Spann. The Rougemont, N.C.-based farmstead dairy prides itself on being a place “where goats can be goats”; does are pasture-raised and moved to fresh patches of grass every few days. Krabbe and Spann follow the herd with a portable shelter (sometimes a school bus) in case any goats need some R&R during daily excursions. And the does love to be brought to the edge of the woods to “browse” the vines and pines, an interest that Krabbe and Spann are happy to indulge.
Bearded Lady is a lactic cheese inoculated with wrinky rind-creating Geotrichum candidum spores and rubbed with a mix of ash and Penicillium roqueforti, a blue mold, before aging. As the cheese matures, blue and while molds flourish on the surface, creating a mottled surface that reminds Spann of the growth of a forest. “There’s a succession as the forest grows up,” she says. “First certain plants come in, and then other plants come in, and the trees grow and they shade out the original plants so those can’t grow anymore—that’s analogous to the succession on a rind.”
Smells of fresh mushrooms, with strong flavors of vanilla and minerals, mild yeasty notes, and a lemon finish. Reminds us a bit of marshmallows.