A farm-based artisan goat’s milk cheese crafted by a 25-year-old cheesemaker was named the 2011 U.S. Championship Cheese by a national panel of expert judges last week.

Katie Hedrich, of LaClare Farms in Chilton, Wis., took top honors out of 1,604 entries from 30 states for Evalon, a hard goat’s milk cheese, made from the milk of her family farm's goat herd. Out of a possible 100 points, Evalon scored 99.06 in the final round of judging, during which judges re-evaluated all gold-winning cheeses to determine the champion at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Green Bay. Hedrich is the youngest cheesemaker to ever earn the honor, and is only the second woman in the history of the contest to be named U.S. champion. 

 LaClare Farms says production of Evalon will ramp up in the coming months, in part due to the recent addition of 183 dairy goats to the family herd. Evalon will continue to be available at retail shops in Wisconsin, including Nala’s Fromagarie in Green Bay, Larry’s Market in Brown Deer, and Fromagination in Madison, because of those shop owners’ commitment to testing early batches and carrying Evalon from the beginning, Hedrich said.

For more information about LaClare Farms Evalon, visit www.laclarefarm.com.