Judy Schad is among a small handful of cheesemakers in the United States that was at the forefront of the farmstead cheese revolution, and she has vastly contributed to helping shape the future of the movement.
Judy has been making cheese since 1976, when she and her husband moved with their three young children from the suburbs to a hill farm in southern Indiana. They sought a sustainable lifestyle, a milk cow, and lots of gardens. When they ran the title on their new farm they discovered that it had belonged to Judy's husband's great, great grandfather in the 1870s. Over the years, the suburbs have followed them and they are now the last working dairy in the county.
Judy wanted to build a working model that others could follow, but since there were no guidelines for commercial goat dairying, they based their model, through trial and error, on an older, more traditional dairy, centered on herd health, longevity, productivity and on animals who are born, live, and die on the same farm. Judy's goats comprise of Alpine, Saanen and Nubian breeds.
Judy produces about a dozen different goat's milk cheeses across a wide spectrum of styles.
Named for a local retreat that was once a Franciscan monastery, Mont St. Francis is a semisoft, raw goat's milk cheese with a washed rind in the monastic style of Belgium and France.
When young, the texture of Mont St. Francis is fairly firm and slightly brittle and becomes softer and more supple with age.
Flavors are intense, beefy and earthy and the cheese has an intensely pungent aroma that is not for the faint hearted. One of Capriole's customers has described it as "a cheese you would not want to eat on a first date, but maybe on the second if the first one went well."
Because Mont St. Francis' flavors are quite extreme, it pairs well with bourbon or fruity, fortified wines and sweet condiments. Also excellent with bitter beers.