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11351 Callahan Creek Rd
Harrisburg, MO, 65256
United States


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A Blue Cheese Label

Martha Folk

Third in our new label series is Moniteau Blue.  Most mid-Missourians are probably familiar with the word "Moniteau," applied as it is to a local river, creek, county and probably more.  The word dates back at least to the 17th century and derives from "manitou," an Algonquin Native American term for "Great Spirit."  The spelling was changed to "Moniteau" when French explorers named waterways in the Rocheport area.

In 1804 Lewis and Clark camped at the convergence of the Missouri River and Moniteau Creek, very near the spot which would become Rocheport.  Clark noted the red pictographs drawn by early Native Americans, probably Osage, high on the limestone bluffs along the river and creeks.  The three symbols reproduced on our label are from William Clark's own drawings, dated June 5-7, 1804, in the Lewis and Clark Journals.  Tying it all together is the thin line of blue water running through the center of the label.

Of course there is no way to know exactly what each symbol represents, but it is thought the first is a depiction of the Manitou, or Great Spirit, which is usually a human-like figure with what appear to be antlers emerging from the head.  The central symbol is believed to be a buffalo and the third a human with upraised arms.

Unfortunately, dynamite and picks destroyed most of the pictographs when the Rocheport Tunnel was built in 1892.

We love our blue cheese and its label.  The cheese is made entirely of goat milk from our own herd.  The cheese wheels, each weighing about 6 pounds, are pierced after four days.  This allows air to develop the signature blue mold as the cheese is aged over the next 6-8 months, resulting in a finished cheese with its sharp, distinctive blue cheese flavor.  Four ounce wedges of the cheese are available at the Columbia Farmers' Market.  Try some!

Fresh Round with Dill at Columbia Farmers' Market!

Jennifer muno

So, we've been making Fresh Rounds for oh, about 14 years.  This week we've decided to feature them as our cheese of the week at market.  For a nice change we've rolled them in freshly chopped dill from Nana's garden.  Tasting it this morning, I immediately thought it would go so well with smoked salmon, a few capers and a toasted bagel.  Wow!  Stop by market tomorrow to get your Fresh Round - between 8 am and 12.

A side note about the Rounds:  They're really a big deal.  We hand-ladle the curd into perforated cups which allows the curd to be treated ever so gently and the whey to drain.  This creates a fresh goat cheese with amazing texture!!  This is the method used in the beginning of cheesemaking way back when!  It takes time, and we think it's worth it. 



Slow Food at the Farm

Martha Folk

May has been a month of school field trips for us.  On May 6 we were visited by third graders from Lee Expressive Arts School.  The field trip was the culmination of a year-long program called Harvest of the Month, first established at Lee by Slow Food Katy Trail in September 2008.  Two years later, enthusiastic Lee School parents began funding, planning and implementing the monthly Harvest of the Month programs and annual field trip to Goatsbeard Farm.  This has enabled Slow Food Katy Trail to introduce its Harvest of the Month program at other local elementary schools.

This year, three stations were set up to accommodate the 60 visitors.  At one, students helped feed grain to goats in the milking parlor, and then toured the dairy facility.   They were fascinated by the fact that goats are ruminants and have four stomachs.  They learned that some cheese is eaten within two days of being made, while some must be aged for many months before it is ready.

At another station, students learned about rotational grazing and helped Jenn and Ken move fencing in the pastures so the goats could enjoy fresh grass that day.  They also fed grain and hay to younger goats and grain to the pigs.  The concept of farm chores began to sink in!

The third station was set up by Lee School parents in the dairy kitchen.  Students prepared their own lunch, composing beautiful platters of apple slices, carrot sticks, sliced salami, boiled eggs and celery with peanut butter.  And of course there were platters of baguette slices with goat cheese!  The children ate together at long tables set up outside.

Slow Food Katy Trail ( is the local mid-Missouri chapter of Slow Food USA.  The organization has deep connections to Goatsbeard Farm, with its founding meeting held at the farm in 2003.  Many other Slow Food events have taken place at Goatsbeard in addition to the annual Lee School field trip.  It is a collaborative relationship in which both our farm and Slow Food share goals:  taking pleasure in good food, ensuring that its producers are treated fairly, and striving toward a sustainable food production system for the planet!