Cheesemakers far and wide gather at the World Cheese Awards to prove their mettle. One such contender walking away from this year’s WCA is Baetje Farms, maker of pure artisan farmstead goat cheeses. The company is based in Bloomsdale, Missouri—the namesake of its award-winning cheese—a town that has served as the inspiration for its French-style goat cheeses.
I had the chance to speak with Shanna Starnes about Baetje Farm’s Bloomsdale Super Gold win and what differentiates the company from others in the category.
“Bloomsdale is molded after the French cheese Valencay. It is a difficult cheese to make!” Shanna shares with me, before diving into the process behind this Super Gold worthy cheese. “The milk needs to be of the highest quality; our goats are well cared for and are on a special nutritional diet to ensure the milk is sweet and delicious. It isn’t handled excessively or over-manipulated. Instead, it is handled delicately to protect the integrity of the milk. After the curd is set, it is hand-ladled and then unmolded to reveal the unique pyramid shape. From there, we add ash and salt to ensure the cheese has the correct moisture content so it will age properly. We watch it carefully and know just when to take it out of the drying room.”
These labor-intensive steps are handled with love and care, as Shanna tells me that if any one of these is neglected, the end product won’t be an award-winning cheese. In addition, she explains that Bloomsdale’s recognition at the World Cheese Awards—an honor that the company has seen five separate years—gives the team confirmation that it is producing some of the world’s best cheeses.
As the Baetje Farms’ team continues to revel in its Super Gold win, I ask Shanna what to expect from the company in the future.
“We are very grateful for our relationships with all our customers from Whole Foods and World’s Best to our local Country Mart grocery store and our marketplace at The Kozy restaurant in Bloomsdale, Missouri,” Shanna says. “We value everyone’s relationship and believe it is our responsibility to our customers to deliver superior, Super Gold products. This builds customer confidence in not only our products, but who we are. We look forward to continue developing our partnerships with our current customers and are excited to work with others. We want to share Super Gold with everyone!”
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