Chèvre Noir (Flying Goat)
Cara Sammons and Devin Shepard produce goat’s milk cheeses out of their home in Acton, Maine, which they describe as an accidental goat dairy. They’d purchased their first goat Grace at the Fryeburg fair in 2007, only so that Cara’s horse wouldn’t be too lonely in the barn. “We just got goat with the most blue ribbons” remembers Devin, “we were just like, we want the one with the floppy ears! And the big nose!” After Cara’s horse Petey passed away in 2008, Grace was devastated, so they got another doe, Ruth, to keep her company.
The experience of raising goats, especially kidding, led Cara to change the course of her life; she’s now the husbandry manager of her and Devin’s herd of more than 35. She’s also in veterinary school, conducting research on a poorly understood Nubian goat genetic disease known as the G6S mutation, sampling goat populations throughout New England.
Devin, a lover of food and cooking, has become the farmstead cheesemaker after working to convert the basement of the house into a fully operational creamery. Goats are milked twice daily and cheese is made up to several times per week in season. In the future Cara and Devin hope to work with local cow dairies to produce cow’s milk cheeses and blended cheeses year-round.
To produce Black Trumpet Chèvre, Devin slices open fresh rounds of cheese and sandwiches in a layer of local black trumpet mushrooms.
Appearance is striking with the white, fluffy cheese contrasting against a layer of deep black flakes. The combination of the fresh, mild, slightly tangy and grassy chevre with the fine shreds of savory mushrooms results in a buttery, melt-in-the-mouth harmonious concoction.
Pair it with an earthly Burgundy or pinot noir.