Our Story

Everything you ever wanted to know about Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy.

Sunlight

Why should I look into Haystack Mountain goat cheese?

First off, it’s just delicious. Our cheesemaker Jackie Chang and her team have the patience, skill and sense of adventure to create cheeses known for their clean, fresh flavor profiles, free of “goaty” flavors and aromas (don’t get us wrong—we love the scent of goats, but on a farm, not the table). Even if you’ve shied away from goat cheese in the past, give Haystack’s a try. We can’t keep track of how many goat cheese converts we’ve won over with our wares.

Second, all Haystack Mountain goat cheeses are handmade and free of bothersome additives found in many cheeses these days. We use microbial (aka vegetarian) rennet, traditional cheesemaking techniques, and our cheeses are free of preservatives and artificial flavors. Nothing but pure goat goodness.

Jackie Chang_Wall Street Gold

Third, goat milk is better for your body. Its fat structures are smaller, making goat cheese more digestible than cheese made with cow’s milk. This allows people with digestive challenges to enjoy a delectable bite of cheese (a pleasure no one should be denied). Goat’s milk is also a sound source of calcium, protein, potassium, thiamin, niacin, and vitamin A. Delicious and what your body needs? Yep, a true miracle food.

How did Haystack get its start? 

Back in 1988, founder Jim Schott and his wife bought five goats (four does and a buck) and cultivated a modest farm in Niwot, Colorado. Haystack Mountain lay in view just to the north, and after he’d made his first delicious chevre, Jim couldn’t think of a better emblem for what he set out to build.

Where did you go from there?

Jim incorporated the company in 1989 and started selling his homemade chevre to restaurants and farmers markets in and around Boulder County. Haystack Mountain goat cheeses first appeared in Alfalfa’s markets in 1992, and Haystack won its first award the same year. In the mid-nineties Haystack cheeses came to the table in white-tablecloth restaurants. No doubt, Jim’s humble, hand-wrought cheeses were finding appeal with a wider range of tastes.

The new millennium ushered in more and more orders for Haystack’s expanding menu of cheeses. We fashioned our first raw milk cheese in 2002. Two years later, Haystack opened its creamery in Longmont, and in 2005, our products started appearing in some of the nation’s finest cheese cases. By 2007, we’d expanded our creamery to keep up with demand, and the next year we began purchasing goat milk from our new partners at the Skyline Correctional Facility dairy in Cañon City.

Curious newborn goats mob inmate as he prepares their breakfast at the Skyline Correctional Facility in Cañon City, Colorado.

Curious newborn goats mob inmate as he prepares their breakfast at the Skyline Correctional Facility in Cañon City, Colorado.

What’s the lowdown on your partnership with the Skyline Correctional Facility’s goat dairy in Cañon City?

We established this partnership with CCI (Colorado Correctional Industries) in 2007, just as our need for goat milk was growing. Haystack Mountain needed a consistent, quality source of milk, and needed it on the double. CCI had the means (the farmland, equipment, and strong-willed human power and spirit) to get a Colorado dairy up and running, and the results have been incredible–inmates learn valuable skills they can use for gainful employment in dairies, production facilities, farms and ranches upon release; Haystack gains a regional source of high-quality, efficiently and ethically produced goat’s milk; and CCI’s proceeds from this and other programs reduce incarceration costs saving Colorado taxpayers millions each year.

For more on the program, check out these articles from The Denver Post and Culture magazine.

Who sings your praises?

We like to think everyone who’s ever tasted Haystack’s variety of cheeses, and some have been very vocal indeed. Haystack won its first award in 1992 and has since garnered praise from the American Cheese Society, the World Cheese Awards, and the World Championship Cheese Contest, including first-place awards for our Chili Jack, Queso de Mano, Peak, Feta, Camembert, Red Cloud, Wall Street Gold, Chevre en Marinade, and Green Chile Chevre.

How many cheeses does Haystack make?

Our range of cheeses, be they raw or pasteurized, fresh or aged, sliced or crumbled, pure goat or funky cow/goat milk hybrids, grows more diverse every day (click here for the most current menu and descriptions).

Who owns and runs the company?

Click here to meet our fearless leaders and goat cheese visionaries. We’re proud to be locally owned and operated, and we invest all we can into keeping our people happy, creative and in command.

Where can I buy Haystack Mountain cheeses?

You’ll find a variety of our cheeses at grocers and at farmers markets across Colorado (click here for a current list of the latter).

Chefs who appreciate traditional, dense, crumbly chevre recognize Haystack’s chevre as the gold standard. Our internationally influenced line of cheeses makes a welcome addition to a cheese board, and to cheese cases dominated by the national brands. Give us a shout and we’ll connect you with a distribution partner in your area.

If you fail to find our cheeses near you, just place your order online and we’ll ship out a batch of your favorites without delay.

Did we sate your need for knowledge? If we failed, don’t hesitate to get in touch.