Say Cheese
Two Middle Tennessee farms invite you to come learn to make cheese, goats included. You love cheese. (Who doesnâ€TMt?) Maybe you want to learn to make it. If so, you need not stand alone. There are places where you can spend a day or two surrounded by Middle Tennessee scenic vistas and adorable farm animals while learning the art of fromage. “People are so used to cheese being store-bought. The entire process is a mystery to them,” says Karen Kushner, owner of Red Gable Cheese Workshop in Sparta. But Kushner and Paula Butler, who owns Standing Stone Farms in Gallatin, agree that it doesnâ€TMt need to be. Making cheese is not as hard as you think, particularly with these pros, who start from the very beginning. The farm: Standing Stone Farms, Gallatin, Tennessee The story: When Paula Butler relocated to Tennessee from the Washington, D.C. area, she did so with a caveat to her husband: She wanted a couple of dairy goats. At the time, she had a young child who was lactose intolerant to cowsâ€TM milk, so milking the goats was for personal consumption. Well, two or three goats turned into 30. She loved the herd but, “We were going broke with all those goats!” In 2007, the family set a goal to teach one cheese-making class a month—that would pay for hay and seed to help feed the goats. Butlerâ€TMs daughter posted about the class online and by morning it had sold out. Like the goat herd, Standing Stoneâ€TMs class offerings multiplied, as has the business. Now Standing Stone is the third largest cheese-making supply company in the country and has a DVD for those who canâ€TMt make it to an in-person class (or need a refresher). The classes: Choose from: a three-hour beginning cheese class, which includes ricotta, mozzarella, burrata and butter; a more hands-on four-to-five-hour class; or private lessons. 2018 classes can be found at https://standingstonefarms.com/pages/cheese-making-workshops The cost: $65–$145
Getting the goat: The goats are addicted to animal crackers, and you can go out and feed them before or after your class. For more information: (615) 461-8765, standingstonefarms.com


The farm: Red Gable Cheese Workshop, Sparta, Tennessee The story: Owner Karen Kushner used to work as a director of catering, so she had a background in both the food and beverage world and in training people. Thus, it made sense for her to start to learn to make cheese and teach others. Her classes were developed based on what she liked (and didnâ€TMt) when she was a novice: Classes are small and hands-on. Plus, she adds, “I write really long recipes, written like someone is talking to you,” which is helpful once you get home. You wonâ€TMt forget a step. The classes: Half- and full-day classes, plus two-and-three-day workshops that cover cow and goat milk cheese in pressed, bloomy rind and soft categories. Cheeses are stored in different stages in the fridge, so students can see the progression of what cheese should look like as they go along. Private sessions are also available. 2018 Cheese Workshop Schedule is posted online, www.redgablecheese.com There are two newly formatted workshops this year, one a really fun one that involves starting at the farm/cheese kitchen and then finishing at Calfkiller Brewing Company for a tour and beer/cheese pairing. The cost: $75–$225
Getting the goat: The farm has eight milkers and two retired goats. Attendees are welcome to pet and play with the goats after class, but not before. For more information: (931) 946-7688, www.redgablecheese.com