I love cheese! On crackers, queso, grilled cheese, jalapeno poppers, shredded, sliced, stuff…any which way! I also love discovering how local businesses work and when I found out Haystack Mountain Cheese was only 10 minutes away and they gave tours, we had to venture there.
Founded in 1988 by Jim Schott, Haystack started with a whopping 5 goats and a 6-acre farmstead in Niwot, Colorado. Through steady growth they first appeared in Alfalfa’s markets in 1992 and won their first award that same year. In 2004, they opened their first creamery in Longmont.
They’ve partnered with CCI (Colorado Correctional Industries) in 2007 for their goat milk supply. Inmates learn valuable skills while tending the goats and learning about how a dairy is run.
We got a wonderful behind-the-scenes tour at their new creamery from Chuck Hellmer, the current president and general manager. He spent over an hour with us giving us an overview of the economic fundaments of the artisan cheese business, their cheese making process and a guided cheese tasting.
We got to see Jackie Chang, their head cheese maker, salt individual rounds of cheese. She’s one of the top cheesemakers in the United States and you can see her love and patience while watching her work. Each cheese is handmade and free of additives or preservatives. Haystack has also partnered with other local companies, like Longmont Dairy, to source their ingredients.
I first sampled Haystack cheese at a local farmer’s market and loved it. I was hesitant that it would taste “goaty” but I was pleasantly surprised at it’s clean taste. I love eating the chevre on salads and camembert melted on bread. During our cheese tasting, we also got to sample the fresh applewood smoke cevre, funkmeister, camembert and sunlight.
Types of Haystack Cheeses
- Haystack Peak
- Aspen Ash
- Vaquero Jack
- Chile Jack
- Herbes de Provence Chevre
- Dill & Garlic Chevre
- Cracked Pepper Chevre
- Chevre en Marinade
- Boulder Chevre
- Applewood Smoked Chevre
- Red Cloud
- Queso de Mano
- A Cheese Named Sue
You can enjoy a private creamery tour on Thursdays between 10a-4p. The tour is approximately an hour long