Monday, June 1, 2009

The Goat Whisperer

Chef Tuohy and I just got back from visiting Mark and Deneane Ashcraft of North Valley Farms. The Ashcrafts have a 62 acre farm where they raise goats for milk that they use to make wonderful handcrafted farmstead goat cheeses. They are committed to the care and stewardship of their farm and the animals and have earned not only the Animal Welfare Approved Seal but a number of awards for their cheeses. It takes an incredible amount of hard work to produce these artisan products and I have the utmost respect for their dedication and integrity. We had a fantastic day with Mark and Deneane, getting a tour of the farm, seeing how the goats are cared for and how the cheeses are made. As a bonus Chef brought along some vegetables and fruit to pair with their cheeses for a luncheon in the garden. The Ashcrafts love their animals and it was a kick to see them follow Deneane all around. These are happy goats!

If you'd like to try the Ashcrafts' cheeses you can find them at the Farmer's Market on Sundays at 8th & W Streets in Sacramento (which is where Chef discovered them). We also feature their cheeses on our cheese plate at Grange.