Noble Springs Dairy
Alice Waters introduced the goat cheese salad at her Berkeley, Cal., restaurant, Chez Panisse, in the early 1970s. Walk into most any restaurant today, however, and goat cheese is on the menu. But the difference between goat cheeses —chèvrein French —is as measurable as the difference between the powdered stuff and Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy. The chèvre of choice for most Middle Tennessee chefs and home cooks alike is that from Noble Springs Dairy.
Situated in a picturesque setting in Franklin, Tennessee, Noble Springs Dairy is owned and operated by Dustin and Justyne Noble. While Dustin grew up in Wil-liamson County, Justyne spent her teenage years in Tonganoxie, Kansas. They met showing Alpine goats at the 2003 American Dairy Goat Association National Show. The couple shared a hobby. They wanted to plan a way to make that hobby a sustainable farming operation where they could make a living. “We moved out to the farm and started the dairy, got married and now here we are,” Dustin says, with a wink at his wife.
The Nobles graze their 150 goats on their rolling pastures. This forage-based diet makes healthy, happy goats which produce quality milk. The milk tastes different in the winter, because it’s richer and more concentrated. “Some goats don’t milk at all during the winter,” Dustin says.
The goats produce more milk during the summer. They’re milked twelve at a time and the milk is pumped into a large refrigerated holding tank, where it remains just until cooled. After the milk is brought to 145 degrees, cultures and enzymes are added to the low-heat pasteurized milk. Rennet allows the solids to separate from the liquid. And with just the right amount of pressure and imparted flavors, a cheese is born.
Forty gallons of milk make about 200 4-ounce rolls of chevre, many of which are rolled into a customized Herbs de Provence blend of rosemary, thyme, basil, ore-gano and lavender. From udder to shelf, the cheese making process takes three days.
The Nobles offer an array of goat products, including cheeses, milk, yogurt, fudge and soap. Their cheeses include chèvre, aged gouda, and feta, with chèvre being the top seller. When Middle Tennessee farmers markets are in full swing, Justyne can be found at 8 to 12 farmers markets weekly. Meanwhile, Dustin is back on the farm working the goats and making cheese. With help from friends of the farm, these markets are the core of their customer base.
Justyne often returns home with a bounty of seasonal produce fresh from the market. She loves this time of year. “I actually get to meet and get to know the people that are buying and enjoying our cheese. In fact, I often leave the market hungry from all the creative Noble Springs recipes our customers share,”Justyne says.“Folks even Instagram their favorite way to use our cheese.”
The Nobles’ formula for success depended upon their prize-winning goats, a pristine dairy and a Dutch recipe for the most luscious, tart chèvre that Chef Waters would proudly use in her legendary salad.
Look for Noble Springs Goat cheese at stores across town, from Kroger to specialty stores:
- Turnip Truck
- Whole Foods (Chattanooga, Franklin and Nashville)
- Produce Place
- Bloomy Rind
- Hendersonville Produce
- Kroger (Melrose, Green Hills and Franklin)
To purchase Noble Springs Dairy products online and for a complete listing of re-tailers, farmers markets and restaurants, go to noble-springs.com.
Follow Noble Springs Dairy @NOBLESPRINGSDAIRY on Instagram and @NobleSprings on Twitter