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October 3, 2007

The big cheese: Southern Indiana farm is making world-class goat cheese

Thirty years ago Judy Schad packed up her young, city-dwelling family and headed to the country in hopes of fulfilling a life-long dream.

“I don’t know why we did it,” she said with a laugh. “We were kind of crazy, I guess.”

Crazy, maybe, but determined, definitely. In just a few short years, Schad found herself somewhere she’d never expected to be — one of the most respected goat cheese makers in the country.

Capriole Farm, nestled in the hills of Greenville just outside Louisville, makes celebrated cheeses that are featured on menus at restaurants across the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. She has been featured in magazines from the New Yorker to People and Martha Stewart Living and has won more awards than she has room to display, including several from the American Cheese Society.

Raised in downtown New Albany, Schad married and moved to Silver Hills where she had three children. She spent her days working on a doctorate degree in Renaissance literature and was teaching English classes at the University of Louisville. But something, she said, was missing.

“I had a garden and raised green beans, and I wanted a cow,” she said remembering her confined, city home. “I was just wanting more land to be able to do the whole ‘back to the land’ thing; to live a different kind of life.”

In 1978, the family moved to 80 acres of farmland that they would later discover once belonged to the ancestors of Schad’s husband, Larry Schad. They built a small log cabin and spent the days enjoying the rolling green hills, woodland areas and moss-covered ponds.

“We didn’t know it at the time, but we had really come home,” Schad said.

“We had no air conditioning, no garbage disposals, no anything for probably about five years,” she said of her family’s fresh, country start. “After awhile we decided we could do it, but we’d like some of the amenities of life.”

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