Meet The Goat Cheese Lady
A homesteading experience in Penrose, Colorado
IT ALL STARTED WITH TWO…
If ever you’re looking to start a successful goat farm, we’d suggest The Goat Cheese Lady’s formula: a passion for all things hands-on and handmade, incredible resourcefulness, an entrepreneurial spirit, a little patience, and just two goats.
Now, with a herd of 24 goats (and counting), a flock of egg-laying chickens, a handful of turkeys, two pigs, two farm dogs, and an adorable barn kitten, Lindsey Aparicio’s bustling five-acre labor of love, The Goat Cheese Lady Farm, is the epitome of Colorado country life.
But that wasn’t exactly the vision when she and her husband Herbert first started in 2010. A few years prior, with two small children in tow, the Aparicios were looking for smart ways to cut down on expenses so Lindsey could take a break from her occupational therapy career to work as a stay-at-home mom. The venture first led the couple into real estate, which was thriving at the time.
Lindsey Aparicio [Photo: Randy Poe]
“We had just moved into a brand new house in Colorado Springs, which happened to have a barn and an acre and a half,” says Aparicio. “But then the real estate market changed, we had this house payment, and I still didn’t want to go back to work full-time.”
Around the same time, rattlesnakes were finding hiding spots in their property’s thick brush, posing a threat to their young boys. “Herbert started talking about getting goats to act as brush control,” she says, but she wasn’t entirely convinced. Then ingenuity kicked into full gear—a recurring theme in Lindsey’s life —while shopping for groceries.
“I was at the store looking for the cheapest milk for my two-year-old son, which was about $1.89 a gallon. I looked at the label and saw that the milk was from Ohio. About three days later, it rotted,” she says. Soon after, the Aparicios invested in two milk goats, both to keep the rattlers at bay and to provide milk for their family.
A LOVE FOR CHEESE
Milking the goats each day was much more time-intensive and fruitful than expected. “I had 7 gallons of milk in my refrigerator. After all that work, I wasn’t going to dump the milk out just because we ran out of room,” Lindsey says. “So I had to start learning how to do anything possible with it.” She started to make cheese with the leftover milk, and that fall, a new business venture was born.
“I fell in love with making cheese and still didn’t want to go back to work full-time, so I decided to teach others how to make cheese,” she says. Now, Lindsey has shared her passion with over 1,200 people on her family’s newly acquired five-acre Penrose farm.
The five-hour cheese-making class hosts up to four people in her kitchen and includes conversation over coffee, a bread-baking session, a tour of the farm, a goat-milking lesson, and step-by-step, hands-on instructions on how to make multiple types of cheese. At the end of the class, Lindsey and her guests sit down and feast on everything they’ve made, including goat cheese, mozzarella cheese, warm homemade bread, and farm-fresh eggs gathered by the students.
[Photo: Randy Poe]
THE FARM LIFE
When asked if she’s tried to avoid getting emotionally attached to her goats, Lindsey laughs. “You get attached no matter what! Each one has a distinct personality. I’ve bonded most with Lucy, our eldest goat. She’s the head of the herd and calls the shots. She was very sick this year and almost died—I spent a lot of time in tears. Thankfully, she’s made a full recovery.”
Cheese-making classes aren’t the only business venture for The Goat Cheese Lady and her family. At the border of the farm and the pasture, Herbert—who also crafts custom furniture—recently built a wooden pavilion and harvest tables for farm-to-table dinners. The couple hosted two events this summer, inviting a different chef each time, and they plan on hosting at least one a month come next summer. “As much of the food as possible was sourced on our farm—meat, cheese, and milk. Vegetables are sourced as locally as possible. It’s a five-course meal, and we try to keep the group small and intimate—around 20 people or so.”
[Photo: Randy Poe]
A CREAMERY IN THE MAKING
Not surprisingly, the community has become a big fan of The Goat Cheese Lady, hoping to purchase cheeses straight from her farm. The couple plans to build a creamery on the property, and while Herbert is up to the task of building the structure, they are hoping to raise the $13,000 necessary to lay the concrete foundation. By selling an assortment of goat-milk lotions and soaps (handmade by Lindsey, of course), neatly packaged in $100 bundles, the Aparicios are almost halfway to their fundraising goal. The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery is slated to be up and running in spring of 2017. For those more interested in learning how to make goat-milk skin care yourself, Lindsey offers soap- and lotion-making classes, too.
IF YOU GO
Experience homesteading first-hand with any of The Goat Cheese Lady Farm adventures below. Once you reach the town of Penrose, make sure to stop by Coyote’s Coffee Den for a hot cup of gourmet coffee.
All classes run from April to mid-November.
Goat Cheese Making Class: Bake bread, tour the farm, milk the goats, learn how to make multiple cheeses, and then partake in brunch. 8:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., $85 per person, limited to 4 people per class.
Goat Milk Soap and Lotion Making Class: Learn to make all-natural goat’s milk soap and goat’s milk lotion, and then take home everything you make! (Once you take your soap home, cut it and cure it, you’ll have 20-24 bars, as well as 8 ounces of lotion.) 2- 5 p.m., $80 per person, limited to 4 people per class, ages 16 and up.
An Experience for Kids: Bring your kids to milk and spend time with the goats, meet the chickens and bunnies, make goat’s cheese, and enjoy The Goat Cheese Lady’s famous white milkshakes! 2 hours, $25 per child, limited to 6 children per class (plus their adults), no age limit…if you think your child would like it, they are welcome!
Just Cheese Making Class: Learn to make soft herbed goat cheese, mozzarella, and ricotta, without the milking lesson. Bring home recipes and samples of all the cheeses you make. 2-5 p.m., $60 per person, limited to 4 people per class.
Advanced Cheese Making Class: Milk the goats, learn to make traditional chevre, goat milk feta and Cuban hard cheese—and of course, indulge in a gourmet farm-fresh brunch!
Bread Making Class: Start from scratch by grinding the wheat and turning it into two loaves of honey whole wheat bread and one pan of cinnamon rolls. The Goat Cheese Lady will provide the rest! 2-5 p.m., $80 per person, limited to 4 people per class.
The $100 Box: To purchase the boxes of goat milk lotion and to support The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery, click this link.
You can find more information at The Goat Cheese Lady website.