Text and photos by Ray Linville
If you like artisan cheese, visit the creamery where it’s made. Even better, get introduced to the animals. If you like chevre, a word we borrow from French for goat cheese, don’t forget to talk to the goats.
When Paradox Farm held Spring Farm Day and opened its property in the Sandhills to visitors, I learned more about its goats and cheesemaking. Its creamery was open for tours, and cheese was available for sampling as well as for sale. For families who attended with small children, the baby goats were the big attraction, and the children seemed so enthralled to be “up close and personal” with the animals.
For a long time, I’ve been a fan of seeing goat cheese on the menu as an ingredient in a salad, sandwich, crepe, omelet, soup, you-name-it. Moist and creamy, goat cheese adds a special tanginess to almost anything. Its white color nicely complements other items, such as red beets and tomatoes in a salad.
At a Paradox Farm booth at a farmer’s market, I tasted a sample of its signature cheese, and I had to take some home. Known as “Cheese Louise,” it has taken gold and silver medals at the N.C. State Fair, not an easy feat.
Named for the farm’s first goat, this cheese has grown in popularity since it was first made in 2012 when it won its initial medal. Sold at farmer’s markets in Cary and Moore County, the cheese is also featured in fine restaurants and specialty stores in the Sandhills.
Sue Stoval and her late husband Hunter bought the 10-acre farm in 2007, and the name they chose for the property derives from a “pair of docs” (they both earned doctorates). The ten-acre farm, which began breeding goats in 2010, makes small batches of its award-winning cheeses three times a week.
In addition to chickens that contribute to the farm’s ecosystem, also on display were the farm’s equine animals: a donkey and two miniature horses. Bridget Kennedy, a worker arranged through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WOOF), explained that the equine animals help reduce pest and predator threats to the goats, a role that some visitors may not have fully recognized.
Kennedy is the latest WOOFer who has contributed to the farm’s success and its production of goat cheese. WOOFers seek practical experience in organic farming and are linked with farmers who provide food and lodging in exchange for labor.
Visiting the farm and its herd of goats gives me a greater appreciation for the cheese that I enjoy. If you enjoy an artisan product, look for opportunities to visit where it’s made.