August is National Goat Cheese Month. And luckily for Valley cheese-aholics, Coach Farm in Gallatinville is the place to get this flavorful fromage. In the mid-1980s, founders Miles and Lillian Cahn established the 700-acre farm simply as a weekend retreat from their famous high-end handbag company with the same name. Nearly 30 years (and more than 900 goats) later, it has blossomed into one of the Northeast’s most renowned centers for all things chèvre.
“Most people know goat cheese as the fresh cheese,” says Tara Kirch, Coach Farm’s marketing manager. “But we actually have about 11 different types of products, and variations of each.” These include ricotta, reduced-fat fresh cheese (“which isn’t carried by many vendors,” Kirch adds), goat’s milk, aged cheeses (such as the award-winning triple cream cheese, green peppercorn, and ultra-aged grating sticks), and a drinkable probiotic yogurt, appropriately dubbed “Yo-Goat.” The farm recently introduced a new line of spoonable yogurt in flavors like honey and strawberry, too.
Although cow’s milk and cheese is popular in America, goat’s milk products are just catching on here; they’re largely revered in most other parts of the globe for their high protein and calcium content, as well as digestibility. (“Those who are lactose intolerant can actually digest goat products more easily,” Kirch says). In addition, Coach Farm’s cheeses are curdled with an animal enzyme-free microbial rennet, so they are vegetarian-friendly.
Coach Farm’s products have gained national attention: They are used regularly in the kitchens of renowned chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mario Batali (who, coincidentally, is married to the Cahn’s daughter, Susi), and have been featured on the Today show, Martha Stewart, and Sara Moulton for the Food Network. The cheeses can be used in anything, from ricotta cheesecakes to pasta fillings and pizzas — even mashed potatoes.
So what does it take to make great cheese? “Happy goats!” says Kirch, who affirms that the farm’s French Alpine dairy goats — which are fed fresh alfalfa hay and can produce about 500 gallons of milk per day — are allowed to roam free and play in rock gardens taken from their native France. “They all have different personalities,” says Kirch, “but they’re really happy animals.”
• 1 package frozen puff pastry shells, thawed
• 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, sliced thin
• 3 tomatoes, sliced thin
• Fresh thyme sprigs, to taste
• Coach Farm® fresh goat cheese log, about 5 oz, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 350°F or to temperature listed on puff pastry package.
2. Defrost pastry and smooth out the creases. Place pastry shells on greased sheet and fold up the edges slightly.
3. Fill pastry structure with tomato, garlic, and goat cheese slices. Drizzle olive oil over the pie and top with sprigs of thyme.
4. Cook in oven until pastry browns.
• ¼ cup baby spinach
• ¼ cup basil leaves
• 1 tsp tarragon
• 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp capers
• 2 cloves roasted garlic
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 2 large roasted red peppers
• 3 thin portobello mushrooms
• 8 oz Coach Farm® aged green peppercorn goat cheese, sliced
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• Fresh basil
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Purée first seven ingredients in a blender.
2. Trim stems off mushrooms and rub with oil. Grill, rib side down, for four minutes.
3. Turn and spoon one tablespoon of sauce from blender over each mushroom; continue to grill for an additional four minutes.
4. Place one mushroom on plate; top with sliced goat cheese, one tablespoon of sauce, one roasted red pepper, basil leaves, and another layer of sliced goat cheese. Add second mushroom, and repeat layering of ingredients in the same order.
5. Top with last mushroom, rib side down. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.