Since 2006, the Latte Da Dairy in west Flower Mound has been quietly making award-winning goat cheeses.
Anne and Johnny Jones, who operate Latte Da Dairy, say they use traditional techniques to transform goat’s milk into hand-crafted cheeses.
“Great milk makes great cheese,” is their motto.
“The milk is produced on the farm and the cheese is created there,” said Anne. “By doing that, we can ensure that we are using the best quality milk in our cheeses. To make great cheeses, you need to start with great milk; and, one of the reasons our milk is great is our Nubian and Lamancha goats.”
She explained that the long-eared Nubians and the shorter-eared Lamanchas are breeds known for producing the best cheese-making milk. In addition, the Joneses feed their Nubians and Lamanchas quality grains and high-quality alfalfa hay.
“You need happy goats,” Anne said. “Happy goats are the ones that get good nutrition and are maintained in good health. Our average goat produces about a gallon of milk a day.”
During the milking process, they practice procedures that guarantee cleanliness and proper milking techniques. Once they obtain the goats’ milk, they refrigerate it quickly, before making their cheeses.
Latte Da Dairy offers 12- to 15-different goat cheeses. In addition to producing a chevre—a traditional soft goat cheese— the dairy also offers a variety of hard cheeses not available from any other goat dairies in Texas. They include such traditional hard cheeses as Gouda, Caerphilly and Cabra; plus other cheeses traditionally made with cow’s milk, such as Pepper Jack and Cotswold.
The Latte Da Dairy goat cheeses can be purchased at the five DFW-area Central Markets and Scardello Artisan Cheese in Oak Lawn. They are also available at the Coppell Farmers Market, Fort Worth’s Cowtown Farmers Market and Clearfork Farmers Market.
Upscale restaurants committed to providing locally sourced food to their patrons—The Table in Flower Mound, The Mansion, Café Modern, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, Wayward Sons, Bolsa, Gaylord Texan and Abacus—also feature the cheeses on their menus.
Not only do the Joneses strive for excellence in their cheeses, they also endeavor to be responsible stewards. They utilize organic and natural products on their land and for their animals, when possible, to achieve long-term sustainability.
In addition to being milk providers, many of Latte Da Dairy’s goats are champions who participate in American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) shows.
According to Anne, participation of their goats in these competitions– as well as in ADGA programs that track milk production– secure “…a place for them and their offspring in either our herd or in the herds of other like-minded goat lovers.”
But, Anne and Johnny’s Nubians and Lamanchas are not the only animal partners residing at Latte Da Dairy. Four dogs attend to and help guard their flock.
Among them are Hanim, a Kangal livestock guardian dog, plus Phaedra and Stevie who are Akbashs. Both Kangals and Akbashs are breeds that originated in Turkey.
Hanim is mentoring Stevie on his duties with the milking does. Phaedra, Stevie’s mother, serves as a companion to the doelings, while Chuck, a Great Pyrenees rescue pooch, attends the bucks.
Prior to opening the dairy in 2006, Anne, a veterinarian, was working for a corporation. She found herself traveling ninety-percent of the time and wanted to spend more time at home doing something she felt passionate about.
“I bought two Nubian goats named Rosemary and Serenity and began playing around with homemade cheeses,” she said. “These two does, the foundation of our herd, quickly stole our hearts and became the ‘gran dams’ of what was to become Latte Da Dairy.”
They now take care of more than two dozen. “They have very individual personalities, and are much like Golden Retrievers,” Anne explained.
When one of her cheeses won an amateur competition, Anne said: “It was the beginning of the end,” of her travelling.
The win prompted Anne and Johnny to start their enterprise. “Everything settled into place as far as starting a business,” Anne noted.
The working goat dairy and cheese-making operation is located at 1304 Bridle Bit Road. Latte Da Dairy’s website is www.lattedadairy.com.