A Pipe Dream Come True…
Pipe Dreams Fromage is a diminutive goat dairy in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, a little dot on the map directly in the center of the state along the southern border. Cheese maker Brad Parker and his family have been farming there and making their delicious array of fresh and mold-ripened goat cheeses since 1994. What may have started off as a pipe dream has blossomed into one of America’s finest producers of goat cheese!
While in college, Brad decided to spend his junior year abroad in France. In between school and studies, he took a job as a goatherd in the Limousin region, literally spending his days traversing the fields, hills, and dales with the troupe. Despite one unfortunate incident where the goats got into a neighboring farm’s patch of haricots verts (the goats had a blast, but Brad says he was lucky to keep his job… the French take their haricots verts very seriously) he learned the rudiments of cheese making and goat husbandry.
During his time with the Peace Corps in South Central Africa, Brad decided that he wanted to milk cows, but was dissuaded by a farmer there who said that getting in to cow dairying was too expensive. The cost of milking and cheese making equipment, investment in animals, and the land to support them was just too much. At the Peace Corps office, he chanced upon a farming periodical with ads for goats. He wrote to 10 of the farms (real letters!) and got a response from one that was close to Philly offering him room & board.
Caprikorn Farms was (and is still!) known for its breeding stock and caprine genetics. The milk that was produced there was considered waste, just a byproduct of the breeding business. But Brad had other ideas… This was in the mid-1980’s, when the idea of goat cheese was still pretty much unheard of here in the US. He got some cheese making molds from France, set up a bare bones cheese house, hand milked the 30 goats on the farm twice a day, and got to work making cheese!
Brad set his sights for his burgeoning cheese business on DC, a town that he refers to as ‘recession proof’ do to the number of politicians, dignitaries, and wonks constantly rotating through the city’s ranks. By 1986, he was selling cheese to the French ambassador, making deliveries to his residence on the regular and recalling his days in Limousin.
In 1991, Brad and his wife purchased the farm where the business is currently located and began to upgrade and outfit the buildings for making cheese. In 1994 they started Pipe Dreams Fromage, and currently milk about 50 Sable goats. We at Saxelby Cheesemongers were smitten at first bite – Pipe Dreams Buche is one of our chevre staples throughout the season, which lasts from mid-March through early January. Stop by the shop for a taste this week – it’s just as delicious and much cheaper than a ticket to France!