‘The Oscars of cheese’: Goat Rodeo wins 2 awards at national competition held in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (July 29, 2018) – Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy has proved itself again — it can play in the big league and win.
The small Indiana Township goat farm entered seven of its cheeses in the American Cheese Society competition, and picked up two awards. Bamboozle won the second spot in the washed rind goat cheese category while Cowboy Coffee won the third place for flavored cheeses.
There were 1,954 entries for 20 categories this year and 364 received awards — 103 gold medals, 124 silver and 137 bronze — Friday evening at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. The participating farms and creameries came from 35 states in the U.S., and from Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.
“We are very excited because it’s the Oscars of cheese,” said Goat Rodeo owner India Loevner. “We didn’t expect to win anything, and so we are surprised and thrilled. The farm’s Hootenanny won a second place last year and she thought that was by chance.
She credited her cheesemakers, Matt Rychorcewicz and Kelly Harding and also was grateful to her 100-some Alpine and Nubian dairy goats of which 85 are milked. “We are so proud of our goats. They are the centerpiece of the farm and this would not have been possible without them,” she said.
What makes these wins more special for Ms. Loevner, who is “proud to be part of the Pittsburgh community,” is that they put foods produced in the region on the national radar. Both cheeses use products from independently owned Pittsburgh-area businesses. Cowboy Coffee is a blend of goat’s milk and cow’s milk from Le-Ara Farms, which has a herd of 80 Holsteins, and gets rubbed with an espresso from Commonplace Coffeehouse Co. Bamboozle is a semi-soft cheese washed with beer from Roundabout Brewery.
Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont won big when it came to the Best of Show. Not only did it pick up the top Best of Show honors for Harbison, a soft-ripened cheese with a bloomy rind, but also walked away with the Best of Show second place for Calderwood, a raw cow’s milk cheese coated in finely chopped fibers of hay. The third place Best of Show, which Harbison won last year, went to Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar from Cow’s Creamery in Prince Edward Island.
Goat Rodeo wasn’t the only goat farm that picked up accolades for Pennsylvania.
Yellow Springs Farm LLC in Chester Springs, which raises Nubian goats on a historic farm that dates back to the 18th century, had entered four cheeses (Goat’s Beard, Petito, Berry Good and Pickering) and goat milk yogurt, and every single one of them won. Catherine Renzi, who owns Yellow Springs with her husband Al, said they went with five entries because they wanted to do the state proud since the conference was held in the Commonwealth.
“We are humbled and gratified and want to thank everyone who supported our farm through the year. Especially the goats because without them, nothing would be possible,” she said.
The Farm at Doe Run’s Creamy Collection Batch No. 13, which won the first place for Farmstead Mixed Milk Cheeses Made in USA, Mexico and Canada last year repeated its win this year, too. The farm’s St. Malachi, which won the second place Best of Show in 2017, took the third place in the farmstead cow’s milk aged over 60 days category on Friday. The Alpine and aged Gouda-inspired cheese has hits of roasted nuts, dried fruits, bourbon, toffee, and buttered toast.