Cypress Grove is located in foggy Humboldt County, in the temperate northwest coastal region of California. Its origins date back to the 1970’s, when founder Mary Keehn became interested in goats while searching for a healthy source of milk for her young daughters. After starting with two animals, she quickly developed a passionate interest in breeding high quality Alpine goats. Within a few years, the herd increased significantly; finding herself with excess milk, Keehn began experimenting with cheesemaking, founding Cypress Grove in 1983.
Keehn was a pioneer. At that time, commercial goat cheese production was virtually unheard of in the US. As the company grew, Keehn decided to sell her animals to a number of local farms and buy back the milk. Today, each dairy still operates under an incentive program, ensuring consistent high quality.
As the company expanded, Keehn was approached with many acquisition offers. However none of the proposals seemed an appropriate fit until 2010 when she received a proposal from Emmi, a Swiss company, majority-owned by a cooperative of small farmers and dairy operators. Emmi committed to keeping the company headquarters in Humboldt County as well as maintaining Cypress Grove’s long-standing commitments with the community, environment and milk suppliers.
In addition to the younger style goat’s milk cheeses made in the Arcata creamery, in 1998 Keehn introduced a new range of matured cheeses to complement and “round out” the Cypress Grove line. These aged gouda-style cheeses are produced in the Netherlands and sold under the Cypress Grove label. Not only does this relationship help Cypress Grove avoid risking cross contamination (associated with making different kinds of cheeses), but it also addresses the issue of the considerable amount of additional space needed for aging these types of cheeses. Released in 2003, Lamb Chopper is made from pasteurized sheep’s milk unlike the other goat cheeses from Cypress Grove.
Aged for at least three months, the interior texture of Lamb Chopper is ivory white in color with a smooth firm paste. Flavors of butter and cream are balanced with a gentle acidity resulting in a mild and yet full flavored, accessible cheese.
Although Lamb Chopper pairs well with either red or white wines, try to avoid anything too tannic or oaky.