Best. Cheese. Ever.

This is a goat’s cheese for people that don’t like goat’s cheese. I used to be one of them. But Ardith Mae and her goats have changed me.

Here’s the secret:

  • The goats live outside. They forage for food which includes eating raspberries straight from the bushes.
  • The milk is minimally pasteurized  ie. only minor amounts of nutrients have been killed (and some of their cheeses are raw (with all the nutrients intact) – aged 60 days.)
  • The batches are small and the cheese created for a local market. ie they are not stored for months in a warehouse and shipped thousands of miles before meeting your mouth.

Nutritionally speaking, goat’s cheese has less lactose than cow’s cheese, so for the lactose intolerant, try this before abandoning cheese.  Goat’s milk/cheese is also higher in many of the B vitamins, including the critical vitamins riboflavin and niacin, but slightly lower in B6 and B12 than cow’s.  It also has nearly 50% more Vitamin A.

“Bigelow”, one of Ardith Mae’s aged cheeses, has a sharp “bite” (similar to-but much better than-Humboldt Fog)and a personal favorite. If you’re looking for a light, fresh cheese, try the raw milk ones which taste like grass. And raspberries.

Ardith Mae. Sold in NYC at Union Sq Farmers Market;Columbia University Market;77th Street&Columbus St Market; and various cheese shops. Also sold in PA (where the goats live). Here’s their website.

Have a favorite cheese?  Tell us about it, including where we can get it !

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Photo: “Bigelow” mid-consumption. Copyright © Michelle Madden

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  • Miriam

    Thanks for this description! I recently moved from Brooklyn to Athens, GA, and although this town is clearly a foodie town, only the restaurants offer the good cheeses – still no local cheese shop. I’m actually finding myself missing union market. When I went to the Ardith Mae Website, I discovered that “Stinky Brooklyn” sells a whole host of cheeses online by the 1/2 lb, and am now thrilled to be able to procure my cheese fix by mail. Alas, no one seems to sell Ardith Mae online, but the selection at Stinky Brooklyn is still quite amazing.

  • Julie

    My current favorite cheese are Hannahbells sold at the Shy Brothers Farm. They are little thimble shaped cheeses and come in 4 flavors: Classic french, rosemary, shallot and wait for it… LAVENDER BUD. The lavender ones are amazing! I am obsessed. I bought a bunch for the holidays and have been thinking about them ever since. The flavor is great and the texture is creamy and soft. You can get them online at or I bought mine from

    • Michelle

      I just visited the site and the cheeses look divine. This may be one of my go-to xmas gifts this year… It is so great to be reminded of all the artisinal cheese producers that are part of this new “hands-on”” approach to food making,lost for so long while we embraced mechanization and large scale production.

  • Lauren C.

    Mmmm…sounds wonderful! For any readers in Northern California, I wanted to share another fabulous goat-cheese maker that I recently stumbled upon during a trip down to the Half Moon Bay area. Harley Farms is a family-owned artisinal goat dairy in Pescadero, and their cheeses are DELICIOUS (and award-winning)!! The goats are all pastured in their green grassy fields and the cheese is made on the premises, making them one of the few “farmstead dairies” in the country, apparently. One extra neat bit is that you can actually tour the farm to see the entire process, from goat to milk to cheese. Not sure if they ship, but if you’re in the SF area like me, they are definitely worth a trip! Here’s their website:

    • Michelle

      Lauren–I actually am in SF these days and I would love to try this cheese! Any idea if they sell it at Bi-Right in the Mission? Or if not, other stores in SF that do?

      • Lauren C.

        Unfortunately, I don’t know where in the city they sell their cheese. I’ve only had it that one time I was at the farm (and then seen it for sale in Half Moon Bay).