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Friday, January 15, 2016

North Carolina wins big at the Good Food Awards

Posted by on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:00 PM

click to enlarge Goat Lady Dairy's Steve Tate - PHOTO BY JILL WARREN LUCAS
  • Photo by Jill Warren Lucas
  • Goat Lady Dairy's Steve Tate
It’s been a good year for Goat Lady Dairy.

In July, the Climax farm's creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chevre and semi-soft Providence brought home awards at the annual American Cheese Society competition. In September, the family institution celebrated its 20th anniversary. By the end of the year, extensive renovations on the 42-acre farm allowed the creamery to increase cheese production by more than 50,000 pounds. And today, Steve Tate and Alexander Kast—lead cheese maker and sales manager at Goat Lady Dairy—claimed two Good Food Awards in San Francisco for their Lindale and Providence cheeses.

The Good Food Awards honor outstanding American food producers and farmers, based on taste, sustainability and social responsibility. The cheeses were among 1,937 entries from 33 different states and were screened by 203 judges during a blind taste test held in September.

The owners of the dairy say the quality of their milk brings home the cheesy bling. The Lindale, a semi-soft cow’s milk gouda, is made from milk sourced two miles away, at Williams Dairy. Goat Lady uses traditional Dutch methods, like washing and cooking the curd before pressing it in a vat of whey, to give the cheese a creamy texture and buttery flavor. The wheels are cave-aged for four-to-eight months for a sweet finish.

Providence comes from milk from the farm’s own herd of goats, which grazes on organic grass. The recipe was a happy accident, created when the dairy was experimenting with Tallegio-style varieties (hence its square shape, unusual for goat’s milk cheeses).

Locals can pick up the celebrated cheeses at farmers markets and independent retailers, plus big-box stores like Lowes and Harris Teeter. The dairy plans to expand its offerings nationwide this year.


UPDATE: When the full list of Good Food Awards winners finally arrived on the East Coast late last night, North Carolina producers took away quite the haul. Rougemont's Prodigal Farm also took the prize for its "Field of Creams," a goat round. Hillsborough's Two Chicks Farms will bring home its third Good Food Award, winning for its dill pickles after taking the title with its dill kraut and pickles in 2014. Durham's Fullsteam Brewery grabbed the prize for its delicious brandy-barrel aged First Frost winter ale after winning with the First Frost itself back in 2013, while Raleigh's Escazu Artisan Chocolates brings home its fifth Good Food Award for its 70 percent stuff sourced from Piura Blanco, Peru. 

One area producer topped them all, though: Hillsborough's Farmer's Daughter, which already claimed top honors in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, grabbed awards this time for a ramp-and-mustard-seed kraut, a ruby kraut, hot chili pepper okra and, in the preserves category, "Bourbon'd Figs." Speaking of Farmer's Daughter's krauts, you can still find its delicious collard kraut, about which we recently wrote, in area stores. 

A bit down the road, Winston's Salem's Brasstown Fine Artisan Chocolate earned the medal for its Ecuadorian 75 percent chocolate

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