Update: Rhonda has graciously given another group of mongers a tour of her farm since this posting and you can read about it here.
In 2009, I met Rhonda Gothberg on Facebook and at the 2010 American Cheese Society’s “Meet The Cheesemaker” Seattle Event, she invited me to be her “assistant”. It was the beginning of a great friendship. Now as we grow closer to knowing each other 5 years, returning to her beloved Gothberg Farms for a visit, was indeed a treat for me. (You can read about our first visit to Gothberg Farms by clicking here.) Check out Spaulding’s reviews of her cheeses.
Rhonda, ever gracious, welcomed our group of Cheesemongers and gave us the royal tour. She began by telling us her background, growing up in Texas, her first career as a Registered Nurse and moving to the PNW with her husband to satisfy his love of sailing. Finding the farm re-ignited the farm girl in her and now 10 years later she’s creating some of the best goat’s milk cheese I have ever tasted. She developed her own feed ratio for her goats and she studies the bloodlines when deciding which doe will breed which buck. She doesn’t like bloomy cheeses, so she doesn’t make them; she’s not getting rich, but she’s doing what she loves… working with the animals, making cheese, growing veggies and enjoying her life… It doesn’t get much better than that.
During the tour, we got to see the milking room, but were not allowed in the cut and wrap room or the make room; Rhonda is so aware of sanitation issues that she asked us not to pet the does.
The milking season is winding down; breeding season is starting and soon it will be kidding season; a time when Rhonda and her assistant, Debbie, are “on-call” 24/7. As it is now, their days and much shorter… usually only about 12 to 14 hours…
We met the bucks, who were far more interested in the does; we saw the garden, still in full swing with its fall bounty and checked out the “caves”, a converted Tombstone refrigerator truck unit.
And then Rhonda treated us to a cheese plate of her wonderful cheeses:
As Spaulding would say… another 4 Paws’ Cheese Plate and Day at Gothberg Farms… on behalf of us all, a big thanks filled with passion for cheese to Rhonda and Debbie for taking time from their busy day to entertain us.