This summer has been one of my favorite and most productive summers for working with local farmers and food artisans.
I think I have discovered a local goat cheese that has just overwhelmed me and all of my friends and family who have tasted it with me.
When I visit with our local farmers and often ask questions like, “What inspired you to get into farming or, in this case, the dairy business?” I am continually surprised at the answers.
Recently, I had a tasting of fresh local chevre from Borgman’s Farmstead Dairy in Holden, Mo., where goats are producing some of the most delicious milk you ever will experience.
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The delicate, fresh, local cheese was enriched by ingredients and experiences beyond our Midwestern borders. For a moment I felt I was somewhere in the Loire Valley of France where the goat cheese is light and creamy.
I also tasted the lemon, blueberry, chocolate orange, strawberry, Irish Coffee, pesto and Heirloom Tomato flavored cheeses. Absolutely delicious. My curiosity led me to a visit with Borgman’s Farmstead Dairy owner Janet Smith.
For Smith, the original inspiration came from her grandmother who started selling the family’s milk in 1935. She was a pioneer of sorts. Her grandmother exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit of the time.
Her grandmother’s passion was present in respecting the land and making the most of resources on hand. Her grandmother used farming practices and habits that so many of us now try to emulate in living “green.”
The inspiration today, however, like the flavors of the chevre they are producing, goes well beyond Smith’s roots. It starts with wanting to ensure the fourth generation takes over a successful dairy farm.
From there, the motivation is to provide the local market with truly fresh artisan cheese and make it more accessible to people as they eat their daily meals.
Borgman’s Farmstead Dairy is re-establishing a regional cheese guild and urban creamery for the Kansas City area. And Borgman’s is providing real jobs to Missouri. Smith, like her grandma, is continuing the family entrepreneurial heritage.
And the inspiration for the flavors I tasted? I was surprised to learn that while Smith’s roots run deep here in the Midwest, her life’s experiences have brought a twist to this lightest of fresh goat cheese products.
Her time serving in the U.S. Army afforded her the opportunity to experience other cultures, cuisines, and customs. Fresh fruit flavor, garlic and fresh herbs from the garden and the taste of chocolates are infused into these wonderful local cheeses.
Then there are the benefits of goat milk: it is less allergenic, naturally homogenized, easier to digest and is closer to human milk than cow’s milk — and lower in fat.
If you’re interested in cheesemaking, Borgman’s Farmstead Dairy offers demonstrations — classes are limited to 10 people — on Tuesdays and Fridays starting in September.
Borgman’s Farmstead Dairy is a small dairy, so they can offer local caterers, chefs and event planners custom cheeses for the recipes.
I am honored that they’re making a cannoli-flavored goat cheese for my restaurant and to help celebrate National Cannoli Month.
They say that if you support local farmers, you support the local economy. But it’s more than that. It’s about the continuation of heritage, providing quality products to Missouri’s population and having a choice in the food you buy and serve your family.
Borgman’s Farmstead Dairy’s cheese products are now available in Kansas City at Hen House Markets.
Borgman’s Farmstead Chevre & Pistachio Pork Chops
2 porterhouse pork chops
4 ounces of Borgman’s Farmstead Lemon Goat Cheese
Mint to garnish
For the Pesto:
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup mint
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Romano cheese
Crushed red chili pepper, to taste
For the Lemon and Olive Oil Drizzle:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
To prepare the pesto: Mix all pesto ingredients in blender. Reserve for crust.
To prepare the Lemon and Olive Oil Drizzle: Mix olive oil and lemon juice. Add fresh chopped mint. Set aside.
To prepare the pork chop: Prepare grill. Place pork in a large dish. Encrust pesto mixture on both sides of steak. Drizzle with oil and cook on indirect heat. Grill until desired temperature. Place Borgman’s lemon chevre on top and let melt. Remove from grill and place on serving platter. Drizzle with Lemon Olive Oil and garnish with fresh mint.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s commands the helm of his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, consistently rated one of Kansas City’s best Italian restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant with his brother, Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is host to many famous chefs on his weekly radio show “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM. He also sells a line of dressings and sauces.