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In 2005, Amaltheia received its organic status through Montana Department of Agriculture and the USDA. Amaltheia had always used organic practices, so converting to organic status was an easy transition.
Also in 2005, Amaltheia started selling composted organic manure to local CSA’s, gardeners, garden shops, etc. by the pickup load and bagged. This was the first step in the zero emissions concept. Now, the manure is composted to organic standards, turned three times in fifteen days while maintaining a temperature of 140 degrees. Nate Brown at Amaltheia is working with Montana State University on grants and projects ensuring the quality of the product.
In 2008, Amaltheia was awarded an Ecostar Award for its endeavors to become a totally sustainable farm. Amaltheia was also working with professionals developing a wind power project to assist in generating power.
Amaltheia Dairy is nestled at the base of the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman, Montana. Goats peacefully nibble grasses and grains, while a zephyr blows through the Cottonwood trees by the stream that borders one end of the dairy, and an occasional eagle or hawk can be spotted soaring above. One is struck by how peaceful it all seems; perhaps the goats are soothed by the views of mountains and the music of the wind.
Melvyn and Sue Brown began their Grade A Amaltheia Dairy, on Thanksgiving Day 2000. They started milking with 90 goats. Initially they sold their milk to a distributor making gourmet cheese for California customers. In the spring of 2002 the Browns decided to develop and operate their own cheese facility. Through careful development and stringent standards for purity and flavor, they arrived at an exceptional product that they are now marketing. Today, they are milking about 280 goats and producing 150 gallons of goat milk each day. Making one pound of goat cheese takes 5 pounds of goat milk. It is carefully pasteurized and cultured, and the cheese making process requires a great deal of hands-on attention. The Chevre takes about three days to make, and the other cheeses vary, but all are made in small batches and shipped or delivered promptly.
Amaltheia Dairy has developed Chevre, Feta, and Ricotta cheeses, as well as a variety of flavored Chevres, such as Roasted Garlic and Chive, Spiced Pepper, Perigord Black Truffle and Sun-dried Tomato Chevre. Amaltheia Dairy sells 17 different products and has the capacity to produce 2,000 pounds of goat cheese a week.
The herbs used to flavor the cheeses are locally grown and organic whenever possible; the goat cheese product is entirely natural. Amaltheia Dairy uses vegetarian-friendly vegetable rennet only. The Browns are in the process of exploring organic status for their cheeses.
Amaltheia Dairy is a family run operation. Their son Nathan and their daughter Sarah, and other employees who are like family, assist in Sue and Melvyn’s endeavors. To keep up with the dairy as well as their teenagers’ schedules, their pace is unusually hectic, but on the farm there is always a feeling of serenity. Young goats wander in a grassy pens near the creek and babies are hand fed several times daily. Melvyn and Sue guide every operation with personal care, and everyone is diligent in maintaining the Grade A status of the dairy and the quality of the cheese. Sleep comes gently at Amaltheia Dairy.
The name Amaltheia comes from Greek mythology, and refers to the goat that nursed Zeus. Zeus became king of the gods, and awarded Amaltheia by putting her image in the sky as the constellation Capricorn. He also took her horn and created the Cornucopia, which would bring abundance to all. Amaltheia reminds us of our bountiful Earth.