Founded by Al and Desiree Wehner in 2000, Sweet Grass Dairy is steeped in dairy farming tradition. Since their arrival in the U.S. from Germany, successibe generations of Al’s family have been dairy farmers in New York State. However, when Al moved to Georgia to attend college in the early 1970s, the warm winters combined with meeting his future wife, Desiree, persuaded Al to stay.
For the first 20 years of its existence, the property that is now Sweet Grass Dairy was a conventional dairy farm. In the early 1990s, the Wehners attended a seminar at a dairy conference on rotational grazing that changed everything. Inspired by the concept of rotating the herd through different paddocks each day, the Wehners reinvented their entire farm by reducing the number of cows in their herd, investing in irrigation systems, and eventually taking cheesemaking courses in California. This transformed Sweet Grass Dairy into the farm that it is today. In addition, they also acquired a small herd of goats.
Fast forward to 2002, when Al and Desiree’s daughter Jessica and her husband Jeremy began working on the farm. Having left budding careers in food and marketing in 2005, Jessica and Jeremy officially purchased the farm from her parents. Under their ownership, Sweet Grass has expanded its cheese-making operations and has now gained national recognition.
Made with Jersey Cow milk and aged for at least 60 days, Georgia Gouda has a light brown natural rind and a yellow paste with a few eyes of various sizes dotted throughout.
Its aroma reflects the pastures that the dairy’s cow graze in with a nice amount of grass at the beginning, which gives way to a clean lactic smell. Georgia Gouda’s texture is smooth, rich and dense. It has flavors of decadent, sweet, brown butter and roasted nuts with notes of grass.
A rich textured cheese deserves a rich beer to drink with it such as an Imperial Stout or a Porter. Georgia Gouda also pairs very well with red wines like Merlot and Zinfandel or white wines such as a Riesling.