When they sell goat cheese at local farmers' markets, Matt and Michele Lamb watch for “the eye roll and the foot stomp.”
It's what happens when someone picks up a sample spoon with a dab of the Lambs' Bosky Acres fresh chevre.
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They put it in their mouth and roll their eyes. Then they swallow and stomp their foot at the assertive tanginess.
Another customer is hooked.
Only one year into operation in Union County about 30 miles from Charlotte, they've seen plenty of eye-rolling and foot-stomping. Their fresh chevre, a creamy mixture that's a bit like spreadable cream cheese – with a lot more texture and flavor – is showing up in restaurants and stores like Earth Fare.
They've added flavors. Besides the original plain and garlic/chive, they now have chipotle and cranberry-cinnamon. Michele Lamb is looking into adding feta and a washed-rind cheese.
But for Lamb, it isn't about the cheese, it's about the goats. A fiber artist originally, she had alpacas for wool. When the alpacas died of old age, she was looking for another animal when she fell in love with dairy goats at a fair.
Now she tends a herd of 20, milking them twice a day by hand and turning the milk into fresh, spreadable cheese. The whey, the liquid left when the curds are removed, is fed to the pigs at Grateful Growers Farm in Denver. “They say it makes the meat silkier,” she says.
Lamb was nervous about making cheese at first. You have to keep everything clean, you have to pasteurize it and you need a license. But when a local chef finally made some chevre with her milk, she was hooked.
“It's a lot of work,” she admits. “You really have to love it.
“But people were ready for a local cheese made in Charlotte.” Kathleen Purvis