Gourmet Goat Cheese Milked in Southern Indiana
It's a combination of hard work and nature that has turned one woman into someone you'd have to call the Cheese Whiz of Indiana.
When the rooster's crow breaks the dawn silence -- it's already milking time at the Capriole goat farm.
More than 500 goats take their turns at the vacuum-pump, each contributing to what will later become one of the world's most honored lines of goat cheese.
It was 31 years ago that Judy Schad left her career as a college professor of writing and composition, bought some property in Floyd County, Indiana, and with two goats, started to figure out how to make cheese.
Schad says, "Quality is always a difficult thing. It's in the details. The devil is in the details. What I came to expect of it at first was consistency, which I don't want any more. For me the surprises, as long as they're good surprises, are the most exciting part."
Capriole produces only about a dozen varieties of cheeses. After they're formed some are sold fresh; others are aged for anywhere from two weeks to two months.
"The surface in proportion to the inside is what turns the cheese into something different," Schad says. "So you put that mold on a little cheese and it's going to turn out differently than it would on a large cheese."
And some cheeses are washed in brine twice a day.
Schad says, "And these are the family that belong to limburger and the Trappist cheeses, and they're big and stinky."
Gourmets open their wallets for Capriole cheese from coast to coast.
Finally, Capriole's unique qualities come from what the French call "terroir, "a sense of place" that is rooted in the southern Indiana soil and soul. Judy Schad says it's not romance; it's the real thing.
"'Terroir' is more than geography," she says. "It's the genetics of the animals that you've built over a period of time. The place, what they eat, the water they drink, as it influences bourbon. But it's also the craft of the people who are making it, so it's all of those things, not just geography alone."