In 1976 Judy Schad, her husband and their three children moved to a hilly farm near Greenville, Indiana to begin a life "in which the land, the animals, and the cheese manage us." They were in search of a sustainable lifestyle, on a piece of land suited to raising animals and planting gardens. In an uncanny twist, Judy discovered when she ran the farm title that it had belonged to her husband's great, great grandfather in the 1870s.
Over thirty years later, the farmstead has a name that derives from the Latin word for goat. The Schad's children have children of their own. Pioneers in the world of American artisan cheese, the Schad's have based their efforts on traditional dairy practices, focusing on the health, longevity, and productivity of their herd. They raise animals who are born, live, and die on a single farm. Capriole goats browse in rotating woodland paddocks, according to standards of humane animal management.
Capriole was one of the first artisan producers of aged, raw milk cheeses in the US. Believing that cheeses achieve their ultimate complexity and depth of flavor when they reflect the natural biodiversity of animals and place (‘terroir’), Judy Schad continues to be one of the strongest advocates for raw milk cheeses in this country. Details about her efforts to ensure the security of raw milk cheese production can be found at the Capriole website, in a document called ‘Our Commitment to Raw Milk Cheeses.’
Thanks to Judy and others in the Cheese of Choice Coalition, a group that includes the American Cheese Society, the Cheese Importers of America, and the Oldways Preservation Trust, there is now a new organization, evolved from a Slow Food USA presidia project begun in 2003. The American Raw Milk Cheese Association helps promote the benefits of aged raw milk artisan cheeses, and has developed a voluntary protocol and testing program for the quality and safety of their products.
When you buy any of the delicious Capriole cheeses, you help contribute to the efforts of returning to traditional food ways and raising animals with respect and dignity. You help ensure that a beautiful farm in Indiana does not sucumb to suburban sprawl. You also allow yourself the health benefits and nourishing flavors of these distinctive cheeses, knowing they are handcrafted and unique.
Many thanks to the Schads for their dedicated, pionoeering efforts, and for providing us with such beautiful cheese!