Amaltheia Dairy has been producing organic goat cheese for a decade on a farm in Belgrade, Mont., just outside Bozeman, nestled at the base of the Bridger Mountains. Sue Brown recalls that “People say you can taste the mountains in our cheese. It tastes fresh, creamy and clean.”
Owners Mel and Sue Brown produce cheese and milk. Mel is a former British cattle breeder and embryologist who brings a scientific perspective to managing their herd of nearly 500 goats. Sue Brown turns hundreds of gallons of fresh milk into hundreds of pounds of cheese in their cheese plant a few miles from farm. She is fanatic about cleanliness and sanitation – the operation has never failed a state or federal health inspection. Amaltheia Dairy is a family run company; the Browns’ son, Nathan, and daughter, Sara, assist their parents making cheese and raising pigs and goats.
Award winners at the 2004 American Cheese Society competition, Amaltheia’s organic cheese is made with vegetable rennet – ovo-lacto vegetarians can be sure they are eating food that hasn’t been derived from the death of an animal.
The dairy’s herd consists of Saanen, Alpine, La Mancha, Nubian and Toggenberg goats, selected to give a balance between high milk production and high butterfat levels. Making one pound of goat cheese takes five pounds of goat milk, which is carefully pasteurized and cultured. The cheese-making process requires a great deal of hands-on attention; chevre takes about three days to make. The Dairy has the capacity to produce 2,000 pounds of goat cheese a week. All of the Amaltheia cheeses are made in small batches and delivered promptly. Their substantial and stable herd size assures product availability year ’round.
Amaltheia Dairy does not freeze or buy curd – the cheeses are all made fresh from milk produced on their farm. The cheeses are true farmstead cheeses, reflecting seasonal variations in pasture. In fact, every season the cheese flavors change very slightly – a condition known as taking on a true sense of “terroir” or locality.
The dairy has been recognized for its sustainability efforts – using whey waste as hog feed and composting, bagging and selling organic manure. Male goats are not slaughtered but are given free to landowners for noxious weed control. The Browns won an Ecostar award for their endeavors to become a totally sustainable farm.
We carry selected varieties of the 17 different Amaltheia cheese varieties, including a smoked chevre.
The name Amaltheia comes from Greek mythology, and refers to the goat that nursed Zeus. Zeus became king of the gods, and rewarded Amaltheia by placing her image in the sky as the constellation Capricorn. He also took her horn and created the Cornucopia, which brings abundance to all. The Browns named their company after Amaltheia to remind them of the bountiful Earth that supplies them with what they need to make their wonderful products.