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Humboldt Fog

Producer
Cypress Grove Chevre
Country
United States
Region
California
Size
3.5 ins diameter, 2.5 ins high
Weight
1lb or 4lb
Website
www.cypressgrovechevre.com
Milk
Goat
Classification
Semi Soft
Rennet
Microbial
Rind
Mold Ripened

Cypress Grove Chevre is located in Humboldt County in the temperate Pacific Northwest coastal region of California. The origins of the business began during the 1970’s when the company’s founder, Mary Keehn, became interested in Alpine dairy goats while searching for a healthy source of milk for her young daughters. This resulted in the acquisition of two goats and from this small start, she quickly developed a passionate interest in breeding high quality Alpine goats. Within a few years, the size of Mary’s herd increased significantly and, finding herself with excess goat milk, she started experimenting with cheesemaking. By 1983 and with the beginnings of a regular customer base, she officially founded Cypress Grove Chevre. At the time, commercial goat cheese production was virtually unheard of in the US and Mary, along with a handful of other goat cheesemakers, was one of the first to spearhead the movement. As Cypress Grove grew, the challenges of managing the goats in addition to the cheesemaking became insurmountable. Therefore, the decision was made to sell the goats to a number of local farms with the arrangement to buy back the milk. Each dairy still operates under an incentive program, ensuring that consistently high quality milk is supplied back to Cypress Grove for cheesemaking. This arrangement allowed Mary to fully focus on the cheesemaking and to take the company forward. Until the early 1990’s Cypress Grove focused on fresher styles of goat’s milk cheeses. However, the successful creation of Humboldt Fog in 1992, helped pave the way for several other American Originals. As the company grew and expanded, Mary was approached with many acquisition offers. However, none of the proposals seemed an appropriate fit until August 2010 when she received a proposal from Emmi, a Swiss company, majority-owned by a cooperative of small farmers and dairy operators. Emmi committed to keep the company’s employees and headquarters in Humboldt County as well as maintaining Cypress Grove’s long-standing commitments with the community, environment and milk suppliers. Humboldt Fog is Cypress Grove's best known cheese and frequently the first goat cheese that many Americans taste. The cheese was created by Mary Keehn in 1992 after returning from a trip to Europe. Once home, she was inspired to make a cheese that visually echoes the typical thick white fog that frequently settles over the dark green landscape of her native Humboldt County. For production of Humboldt Fog, milk is pasteurized in a vat where cultures and coagulants are added and held for the acid ripening process. The mixuture is then moved to a curd press where the whey is drained off. The curd is then mixed with salt, hand-packed into cheese forms, ashed, and then sprayed with mold cultures. The cheeses spend ten days in primary ripening where they are turned daily, and then “cold stabilized” for several more days before being wrapped and sent to market. Apart from the horizontal line of ash, the interior paste of the cheese is snow-white in color when young, with a smooth, dense and slightly crumbly texture. With age, the paste starts to break down under the rind, becoming smoother, slightly translucent and ultimately runny. The flavors of Humboldt Fog change with age. When young, the cheese is clean, bright and lemony with a citrus-like tang. As it matures, flavors intensify and and can become quite assertive, especially just under the rind.

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