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Cypress Grove's founder Mary Keehn

  • Broadcast in Food
A Fermented Affair

A Fermented Affair


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The seeds of Cypress Grove Chevre were sown in the 1970s when Mary Keehn, a single mother of four daughters living in Humboldt County, began looking for a healthy source of milk for her family. As luck would have it, a neighbor had two goats. When asked by Mary if she was interested in selling them, she told her, "Honey, if you can catch them, you can have them."

Armed only with her resolve and a coffee can full of oats, Mary captured not only the two does and her healthy source of milk, but also a career and a unique place in American food history.

Possessing a background in biology, Mary's interest turned to breeding her goats. Within a few years, the size of the herd had increased significantly and she found herself with excess goat milk. She started experimenting with cheese making in her kitchen, and in 1983, with a regular customer base already developing, she officially founded Cypress Grove Chevre.

At the time, commercial goat cheese production was virtually unheard of in the US. Mary, along with a handful of other goat cheese makers, began to spearhead the movement.