Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy | TheFencePost.com

Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy

Amy G. Hadachek
for The Fence Post

Mouth-watering, hot new trending goat cheeses have been released just in "the nick" of time for the holiday season from a savvy and forward-thinking goat cheese creamery that is celebrating its 10th year in business in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Dawn Jump, who founded the Jumpin' Good Goat Dairy commercial milk parlor and creamery in Buena Vista, Colo., on March 10, 2008, less than a year after moving to Colorado from Ocean Park, Wash., said her dairy specializes in creative, artisan hand-crafted goat cheeses.

Now ready for Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza and other holidays, Jumpin' Good Goat Dairy has expanded its target marketing and dramatically increased production with their New 5 cheeses, and another cheese resembling, and called, First Snow.

To create that look of a first snowfall, Jump melded three specific ingredients.

"It comes from our snow white milk, black vegetable ash and white mold from the mold P. candidium (Penicilium candidium). This cheese belongs to the rind-ripened (or bloomy rind) cheese family. The white rind on the outside is the same mold that makes the rind of Brie and Camembert. P. candidium requires an elevated pH to properly form and grow, and the vegetable ash that we add is what we use to raise the naturally lower pH of the cheese," Jump said.

The creamery owner is also excited about the launch of the New 5 and said they don't add any artificial colors to any of their cheeses.

"The newest cheeses we offer retail are our Spanish Pepper Cheddar, 5 O'Clock Renegade, Queso de Buena Vista, Queso de Colorado and Herbs and Fresh Goat Cheese Curds," she said.

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Brimming with intrigue in both color and zest, the Queso de Colorado was created with flavors that compliment and enhance the flavor of goat cheese.

"Because of the tang associated with goats' cheese we tend to lead more towards more rustic spiced and savory flavors," Jump said. "Our Queso de Colorado is a white cheese that we rub with a chipotle/chili spice blend that lends quite a bit of lingering heat and a red hue. Our Queso Fiesta gets its orange hue from chipotle powder that we toss the cheddar curds in before molding and pressing the wheels. Our brightest flavored cheeses tend to be the more herbaceous. For instance, our Garlic-Parsley and Lemon-Dill chevres are probably the brightest in flavor, particularly the Lemon-Dill with its fresh lemon juice and zest."

WINE AND CHEESE

Then, there's the Ruby Mountain Wine-Soaked Cheddar created from Jump's white-color flagship cheddar, Champion Mill Cheddar. It gets it's wine appearance; a dark mauve-purple hue from the wine itself. "We use our Champion Mill Cheddar, and take wheels of it and soak quarter wheels in a small vat of Merlot (wine) for two days. Once the cheese has finished soaking the cheese is cut, wrapped and sold," Jump said. Her goat dairy regularly sells 25 cheeses via wholesale, retail or food service, online, in their own retail store on-site, and at seasonal farmers' markets.

Proud of her creamery's small beginnings 10 years ago, Jump began her career with just one doe and one buck when she lived in Washington. "My first year my doe, Christina, had triplet girls; M&M, Snickers and Ladybug. When I decided I wanted to open a commercial dairy/creamery my family and I planned to move back to Colorado (my family has generations old ties to Colorado). We moved to Buena Vista in 2007 with the 50 goats," Jump said. And, between 2007 to early 2008, they built their commercial milk parlor and creamery, as well as pens and several out-buildings.

Their goats are handled right on the Buena Vista property; which is 2½ hours west of Colorado Springs, and also on a nearby farm. "Yes, we do both. We operate a seasonal dairy on-site, which we milk from March through September," she said. "We also partner with a year-round goat dairy in Monte Vista in south central Colorado."

The public is invited to interact with the processes, and the animals and people on the farm, while experiencing the origins of food — as well as watch the dairy's educational milking.

"We're open to the public four to six days a week; depending on the time of year with a small retail shop on site that we run educational farm tours through; twice a day in the summer and once a day in the winter," Jump said. "Our store clerks and the tour guides are one in the same — so all visitors can learn about what we do."

The tours detail the dairy's origins, then they provide explanations about the goats, the milking and cheesemaking, as well as overall operations, followed by a meet and greet with some of their goats.

Afternoon tours in the milking season offer visitors a chance to visit the milk parlor and watch the milking process. "If they desire, they can milk a goat, and they get a ribbon for their effort too," Jump said. The creamery building is fitted with windows for viewing each room of the building, except the shipping room.

"This allows us to lead them through the process from milk to cheese while showing the equipment, and actual cheese at various stages of make, as well as our employees at work," she said.

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES

Sustainable agricultural practices are also important to Jump. For pasture management, their goats graze in 38 acres of rangeland. "We are in a high-alpine desert with an average growing season of 120 days. We try to ensure that the goats go out to pasture as much as possible; not only for their benefit but also for the pastures. The only additional work that we do out in the pasture is maintaining our ditches for our allotted water (like clearing debris,)" Jump said.

For pest management, Jump said they don't use any pesticides or rodenticides on site, but utilize various predatory insects (predator flies) and cats and dogs, poison- and bait-less traps, regularly removing animal waste. "For larger predators, such as coyotes, we rotate management practices as the coyotes habits change, from using large predator urine along our fence line to having guard animals within our herds," Jump said. Currently, they have two llamas in their milking herd, and their goats graze outside their designated pastures to handle weeds on the property.

There's also the by-product. "We produce a significant amount of whey, and currently we sell the excess to a hog farmer here in Buena Vista, which they then feed to their pigs," she said. "They sell the meat locally."

Meanwhile, Jumpin' Good Dairy is considering various outlets for one of their main (and largest) cheesemaking by-product, whey. Jump said they're just in the research phase to determine whether the monetary benefit of creating a value-added product from their whey would outweigh any increases in cost for labor, equipment and time.

Making cheese was a project Jump taught herself over a five year period before starting the dairy in Washington. "I chose goats' milk in particular because of their size, disposition, ease of care as well as family dietary restrictions," she said. "I am of a smaller stature and goats are much more compatible to my size compared to cows. In addition my daughters both have dietary issues related to cows' milk. Also, their manure is also easier to deal with. Goats have more personality and I find they are foragers (not just grazers) and are much more sociable than sheep."

You can order your Holiday cheese baskets and cheese boards online at: http://www.jumpingoodgoats.com .

And follow the dairy on Facebook and Instagram for updates on the farm, special events, tour season and kidding season.

-Hadachek is a freelance writer who lives on a farm with her husband in north central Kansas and is also a meteorologist and storm chaser. She can be reached at: rotatingstorm2004@yahoo.com.