In 1984, Ginnie Tate relocated to a 200-year-old tobacco farm set in the rolling hills of North Carolina. Accompanied by two Nubian goats that quickly grew to a herd of twenty, her neighbors deemed her “The Goat Lady.” Ginnie’s brother Steve and his wife Lee and their sons joined her in 1995 to open one of the first licensed goat cheese dairies in the area: Goat Lady Dairy.
Ginnie and the Tates restored and renovated the crumbling outbuildings and added a new dairy barn. They cooperated with the Piedmont Land Conservancy to ensure that the farmland would always be used for agricultural purposes. Their commitment to artisanal cheeses, their desire to connect farmers and consumers, and their delicious cheeses found in farmers’ markets and grocery stores soon became known throughout the area.
In 2017, the Lees sold the dairy to two longtime employees, Carrie Routh Bradds and Bobby Bradds. Both have farming roots in the community stretching back to 1740, and they worked at the dairy for twenty years before assuming ownership. They remain committed to changing how the public views their food through farm visits and Dinner at the Dairy in the fall and spring. Goat Lady Dairy now partners with local family farms to continue their production of goat and cow milk cheeses.
Providence actually started out as a cheese gone wrong. An attempted Taleggio-style cheese didn’t turn out as planned, but the cheesemakers decided that they liked the firmer version they ended up with. Curds are ladled into square forms, and flipped as they drain, leaving the unpressed cheese with small fissures after it ages for four months.
Providence's rustic natural rind encases a cream-colored paste that's slightly crumbly. Flavors are grassy, nutty, and slightly yeasty, with addictive saltiness and sweet caramel overtones.
Pair it with membrillo or with a crisp gose-style beer.