There’s no better place for producing top-quality goat milk cheese than the sunny, high desert of Central Oregon. The region is rich with volcanic soils and blessed with fresh air and clean water originating from the Cascade Mountain snowpack. Juniper Grove Farm’s healthy herd – 110 strong – thrives out here on the plains. “Our goats are outside all year, and they feed on arguably the best alfalfa in the country,” says Juniper Grove Farm owner Pierre Kolisch. “The dry, cool environment in our cheese room is also big part of our success.”
Owner, Fix-It Guy
“I grew up in suburban Portland but always liked the idea of having a piece of land to produce my livelihood from. The best part of my job is the variety, whether it’s making cheese, managing sales, fixing equipment or helping the goats give birth.”
The farm’s origins date back to 1985 when Pierre – an attorney by training – set off for France to pursue his passion, cheesemaking. Intent on finding a mentor, he cruised Normandy on his mobylette, knocking on doors and offering to work in exchange for room, board and an education in cheesemaking. As luck would have it, Francois Durand accepted Pierre as an apprentice to make farmstead camembert in Camembert.Pierre received a degree from ENILBIO, Poligny and then returned to the States in 1987 to establish his own farm. What began as a local, one-man operation has blossomed into a nationally known company favored by hundreds of specialty stores, fine restaurants and upscale markets.
Yet Juniper Grove Farm remains a simple, hardworking farm, run by a close-knit group of Oregonians who love cheese, love animals and take pride in a job well done. Though they make cheese seven days a week, production on the farm is limited to ensure high quality and low impact on the land.
Secretary, Idea Woman
“I actually like cleaning out the pig pen. The pigs are sweet animals. They kind of look at you as if to say, ‘Thank you.’”
Milker and Packager
“The goats are really friendly and curious. When I come into work, they greet me and follow me around.”