Talking Chevre With Cheesemaker Deneane Ashcraft

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Award-winning cheesemaker Deneane Ashcraft of North Valley Farms Chèvre was at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op last night for a Meet the Farmer event. A sixth-generation farmer with a passion for sustainable agriculture and animal welfare, she and her husband Mark keep a small herd of free-range goats on a 60-acre organic farm in Cottonwood, south of Redding. From their milk, Ashcraft makes pasteurized chèvre, feta and aged raw-milk cheeses in small batches. She’s mighty picky about who she supplies her cheeses to. Here in Sacramento, she sells only to the co-op and to Michael Tuohy, executive chef at Grange Restaurant. (She also sells her cheeses herself at the Sunday farmers market.) While Ashcraft talked, the co-op served appetizers featuring her delicious cheeses. I tried the bruschetta with fresh goat cheese and Greek salad with crumbled feta.