Once upon a time, most Americans viewed cheese as processed slices for grilled sandwiches, a wedge of cheddar alongside a piece of apple pie or crumbles in blue cheese dressing. Over time, our tastes evolved and became more sophisticated and our consumption of it doubled.
But one misconception lingered – that cheese came from “dairy states.” The Show-Me State has shown the cheese-loving public how wrong that idea is…with a variety of award-winning cheese producers creating amazing products.
Goat’s Milk Cheeses
Baetje Farms, Bloomsdale: Their pride and joy is artisan goat cheese from milk produced by their pure white Saanen goats. Their French-inspired cheeses have won more than 60 national and international awards and have been featured in major publications like the New York Times. Their hormone-free herd is made up of very happy goats, and happy goats make delicious cheese. Check their Facebook page for farmers markets and other places they’ll be selling their cheeses or just order direct from the source.
Goatsbeard Farm, Harrisburg: This family farm/commercial goat dairy is dedicated to sustainability and maintaining quality at every stage of production. Their herd of about 50 goats produce the milk from which all their delicious fresh and aged cheeses are crafted and the farm ensures the best milk by protecting water quality and using natural fertilizers. Their fresh rounds, fresh tubs, soft-ripened cheese, feta and aged raw milk cheese are available at select stores and farmers markets around the state.
Terrell Creek Farm, Fordland: This farmstead dairy uses milk only from their own healthy and happy Nubian goats to produce artisan goat cheese. The farm avoids any and all chemicals and feeds organic grain that results in a subtle yet distinctive Ozark Hill region cheese. It’s used in the area’s fine restaurants and for private purchase. Terrell Creek also offers cheese making classes.
Cow’s Milk Cheeses
Hemme Brothers Farmstead Creamery, Sweet Springs: You can’t find this kind of dedication to quality just anywhere, with four brothers getting up at 4 a.m. to take farmstead cheese to a new height. Their claim to fame is start-to-finish fresh and aged cheeses made from milk they produce, from cows they raise that are fed with crops they grow. Check their website for store locations where you can find their award-winning Quark (a fluffy, smooth cheese with just a hint of tang and salt), cheddar and curds.
Shatto Milk Company, Osborn: Take the whole family on a tour of the dairy, the bottling facility and the farm (milk a cow and meet the adorable calves!) which gives you a chance to see how their products go from farm to table. Their country store is open seven days a week with farm-fresh artisan cheeses (be sure to check out their Shatto originals) and an amazing selection of cheese curds in Cajun-flavored white cheddar, dill-flavored cheddar and mushroom garlic cheddar varieties.
Edgewood Creamery, Purdy: Enjoy handcrafted natural cheese from this local, family-owned and –operated dairy. They describe their herd as the finest grass-fed cows in Southwest Missouri. The creamery uses of a natural and balanced rotational grazing system and operates in a sustainable manner.
Sheep’s Milk Cheeses
Green Dirt Farm, Weston: Take a tour of the farm and cheese kitchen, including a glimpse inside the milking parlor of this small sheep dairy where they produce award-winning sheep’s milk cheese and yogurt by hand. The tour begins at their shop in Weston where you can find their award-winning artisan cheeses, including their Aux Arcs (pronounced Ozark), similar to Swiss and made with a blend of sheep and cow milk.