Singing Hills Dairy is a 25-acre artisan goat cheese dairy farm near Nerstrand, MN, owned and operated by Kate Wall and Lynne Reeck. They produce fresh chevre, feta, curds and yogurt from their on-farm certified cheese plant, and raise about 30 to 40 goats each year for meat, much of which is showcased on the local food truck The Curious Goat. In season, they also raise about a dozen pigs which feed on the dairy’s whey.
Lynne started making cheese 6 years ago, experimenting on her kitchen stovetop. Lynne’s path to cheesemaking was a long one, with an education that began with coursework in Wisconsin, followed by apprenticeships with another farmstead cheesemaker and a large commercial outfit. Since then Lynne and Kate have produced some of Minnesota’s most sought-after artisanal dairy products.
How did you come up with the name Singing Hills Dairy?
Kate and Lynne borrowed the poetic name from their go-to getaway, nearby Sakatah Lake State Park; in the Dakota language, sakatah roughly translates into “singing hills.”
Why did you decide to raise goats?
One of the many attractions is the animals’ natural curiosity. Sheep don’t like people. Cows, they couldn’t care less. But goats? They’re all, ‘Hi, how are you?
How often do you milk your goats?
Twice a day — usually around 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. — six goats at a time, “the girls” dutifully line up inside the milking parlor, lured by the pound of organic grain (a mix of corn, soy, flax and barley) that they feast upon while being milked.
How much milk does a goat produce each day?
On a good day, a doe will produce roughly a gallon of milk, and it travels directly from udder to pasteurization to cheese.
What do you do when you’re not doing work for your farm?
Lynne devotes every waking hour to the place, and Kate, when not immersed in her full-time management job at Northfield’s natural foods co-op, is also tending to the animals and their bottomless needs.
Farming Philosophy: Four Part Harmony between the Land, Animals, Farmers and You.