Karen Kushner of Red Gable Cheese Workshops in Tennessee sent us this note recently:
“Since I think you’re always looking for interesting articles, I wanted to put a bug in your ear about one of my students from last year. Suzanne Bennett of Holy Goat Creamery in Manhattan, KS came in last year for a private class. She already had an existing creamery and was selling cheese but wanted to brainstorm about different ideas to expand her repertoire. We had a great class and she latched onto the bloomy rinds.
Suzanne has an interesting story. She is a retired OB/GYN surgeon who decided she was going to make cheese in retirement and she went after it whole heartedly. She has one speed and it is “go!” And I think she is exactly the type of person who inspires others at a juncture in their lives to go for it also.”
We thought so, too!
Suzanne was, in fact, a physician for over 30 years before she retired in 2016. Years before that, her husband, Tom Place who is also a doctor, had suggested she get a hobby to relieve some of the stress of her work.
She went to a weekend cheese making workshop and discovered she enjoyed making goat’s milk cheese. But, it was hard to find milk in her area, so, she decided to raise her own goats. She began the planning process for building a farm and creamery.
She hired a well-known consultant, Neville McNaughton from Cheezsorce in St. Louis and he helped her develop the plans for the building and the make-procedures.
When she was ready, she purchased her goats from Sue and Noah Goddard in Lecompton and they became her mentors. (It was also helpful that her daughter is a veterinarian.)
She was also helped, in part by a USDA grant – Value Added Producer which matched funds for many of her business expenses.
She came up with the name when she remembered how her young son used to pray in church to “the Father, Son and Holy ‘Goat.’
Suzanne raises and sells ADGA registered purebred Nubians. Arch Angel Farm is one of only two KDA certified Grade A goat facilities in the state of Kansas.
She is milking 22. She also has 2 senior bucks, 2 juniors and 3 yearling bucks for sale at her website.
This year, 38 kids were born!
The birthing room is the first one in the line-up from where the goats hang out. The does are taken there 3 days before their due date.
Making the cheese
The creamery includes a lab where Suzanne can test her milk to USDA standards.
She makes chevre, feta and bloomy rinds. She also sells her homemade goat caramel sauce (cajeta) and goat cheese truffles. (Note: We have posted blog articles with recipes for cajeta (click here) and truffles (click here).)
You can buy Suzanne’s cheese at various markets listed on her website (click here).