WHERE EVERY GOAT, SHEEP, AND CHEESE HAS A NAME
Pennyroyal Farm's cheeses are made daily in the creamery by head cheesemaker and herd manager Erika McKenzie-Chapter. Each cheese is made in a small batch with milk from our own goats and sheep. This allows us to keep a close eye on every ingredient and step in the process and produce handmade cheese that taste of a special time and place. Farmstead cheese is even more select than artisan cheese.
Our cheeses are seasonal, which is good for the animals, but may make it hard for you to purchase certain cheeses at various times of the year. Our goats and sheep have a natural reproductive cycle: they are all bred in the fall, which allows us to give them at least two months off from milking in late winter. This time off allows them to prepare for birthing in the spring and keeps them healthy for the start of the next lactation period.
Our barn, milking parlor, and creamery were designed with the visitor in mind. To keep production sanitary we cannot invite you inside the creamery, but we have many windows that allow our guests a view into each stage of the cheesemaking process and provide many details on our Farm Tours. Visitors can view cheesemaking from inoculation in our 50-gallon vats, to cutting and molding of curds, through the aging stage, and finally packaging.
Each of our cheeses is named from Boontling, a unique language that originated in Boonville and the surrounding hills at the end of the 19th century. Our cheeses are a unique mix of goat and sheep milks; a blend that changes with the seasons from nearly 20% sheep milk at the start of the year to 100% goat milk in the fall and winter, when the sheep stop milking.
We produce several varieties of cheese, and each cheese type highlights the daily and seasonal variation of our milk. Our firm raw milk wheels, which undergo a prolonged ripening, are made from our morning milk—naturally lower in fat because of the goats' eating habits. In the summer—when milk production is at its peak, and milk fat at its lowest—we focus on making Boont Corners to age through the winter. Younger surface-ripened cheeses—like our Bollie's Mollies and lush Velvet Sister—are made from our high-fat evening milk. We make larger batches of these softer cheeses in the spring and early winter, when milk is scarce but at its richest.
Our creamery includes two aging rooms, each with separate temperature and humidity levels, designed to favor the ripening of our different styles of cheese. The aging rooms were constructed to act like a cave, with low airflow and radiant cooling to assure perfectly aged cheeses.