One of the fun things about the ACS awards ceremony was the number of cheese winners from outside the Big 3 dairy states — farms from Illinois, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia and Missouri all garnered ribbons. And our farm-of-the-day, Baetje Farms of southwest Missouri, brought home two blue ribbons for their Bloomsdale and Coeur de la Creme.
Baetje Farms is another small farmstead operation, owned by Steven and Veronica Baetje and located 45 miles from St. Louis. Their goats are well taken care of, some might even say spoiled, as the Baetjes supplement their fresh alfalfa and pasture diet with organic herbal tea. While their first cheeses were made from goats milk, they too have recently begun experimenting with sheeps milk — their newest cheese, Miette (pictured above), is a mixed goat and sheep-milk cheese that has a rich, cheesecake-like texture and delightful flavor.
Bloomsdale is a Valencay-style, pyramid-shaped, surface-ripened cheese coated with pine ash and salt. Tangy but still quite fresh. Coeur de la Creme is a heart-shaped fresh chevre that delivers the full, pure flavors of the Baetje goats’ milk.
Unfortunately, their ribbon winners were down to the last slivers on the plate when I made my way around the bloomy-rind table, so I wasn’t able to snap their picture. Another fun thing about ACS is that, when you’re working your way around the tables, you might just look up and find yourself next to the cheesemaker.
Here, Veronica Baetje is scrutinizing some of her bloomy competitors. No need to fret, her cheeses were clearly the belles of the (cheese) ball.