Happy Goats, Great Cheese
This June, Bifrost Farms Creamery, near Boyceville, Wisconsin, became the only farmstead goat cheese micro-creamery in Western Wisconsin. Licensed Cheesemaker Meg Wittenmyer opened Bifrost Farms with the goal of providing a local source of fresh goat milk products. Wittenmyer’s vision is to be a key part of building a vibrant, sustainably active food community in Dunn County and surrounding areas.
A farmstead creamery differs from the typical cheese factory of Wisconsin in that the goats are raised, milk is produced, and cheese made all right on the farm. Meg takes pride in her small herd of Mini-Nubians who produce sweet, high-butterfat milk, perfect for cheesemaking. Current products available through Bifrost Farms are all non-GMO and use only vegetable rennet. They include plain and flavored Chèvre, a Feta-style cheese called Salzkäse, Cajeta (goat milk caramel sauce), and Meg’s unique yogurt cheese made in both sweet and savory flavors,such as Matcha Green Tea and Tzatziki.
Bifrost Farms goats are treated humanely and naturally, with no vaccines or traditional wormers. They are also proud of their “no-kill” dairy label and will soon be Animal Welfare Approved. Although not certified organic, they use organic practices in their goat dairy. Wittenmyer says, “We maintain that the natural path is the most efficient and safest way to treat animals. With a strong immune system and healthy diet and supplementation (all derived from natural means, not chemical) when necessary, our goats thrive and in return, provide us with the means to create wonderful goat milk products. We are building our herd from some of the best bloodlines in the country and hope to have kids available soon to pass on their amazing genetics.”
Goat milk is the basis for creating the special products Bifrost offers. “The first thing you need to realize is that goat milk is NOT cow milk,” Meg notes. “They both come from the teat of a hoofed animal, but as far as we’re concerned that’s where the comparison ends. Goat milk is fragile. Goat milk must be handled carefully, stirred slowly, and not overworked. The reason has to do with the tiny fat globules that make up goat milk, and by the way, that is what also makes it more digestible. If goat milk is treated roughly, the final product will be tough and not at all what you intended.”
Future plans include farm tours and weekend cheese making and soap making workshops, as well as adding goat milk gelato to the line-up of products. For more information about Bifrost Farms Creamery and its products, visit their website at www.bifrostfarm.com. Bifrost Farms products are currently available at the Menomonie Market Food Co-Op, the Menomonie Saturday morning farmers market, Just Local Food Cooperative in Eau Claire, or at the farm. Please call the farm at 715-643-2208 before visiting.