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The Urban Forager: Fifty Goats and a Dream

A former city couple follow their farmstead bliss.


Ardith Mae Farm goat cheeses, clockwise from top left: Doolan; wedge of Mammuth; Bigelo pyramid; Mammuth; Henry; washed-rind Bevan.   

Five years ago, Todd and Shereen Wilcox were living in Williamsburg. He worked in advertising; she was a night-shift baker at Amy’s Bread. Both loved cheese, farmer’s markets, and the weekends they spent at a fishing cabin in the relative wilds of Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Ready for a permanent change, Shereen interned at Bedford Cheese Shop, and the couple moved to Vermont to apprentice at a goat dairy farm before finding 35 acres in northeastern Pennsylvania to build their own. They named the farm after Todd’s grandmother, Ardith Mae.

This Friday, the Wilcoxes debut their product line at Union Square Greenmarket, after selling at smaller Upper West Side and Brooklyn outposts for over a year. (In the farmer’s market hierarchy, this is hitting the big time.) The couple’s cheeses have also recently become available at Lucy’s Whey, Marlow & Daughters, Saxelby Cheesemongers, and Bklyn Larder—the sort of purveyors that champion small, sustainable local business like Ardith Mae Farm, which recycles its milk-house water and rotationally browses (goats “browse,” rather than graze) its herd of 40 or 50 Saanen and LaMancha goats on raspberry, saplings, and shrubs. Whether the fruity, woodsy nuances of their foraged diet is detectable in their milk is up for debate, but the cheese it yields is creamy and rich: buttery in the case of the Camembert-like Mammuth, pleasingly chalky in the soft-ripened Doolan and ash-coated Bigelo, and delectably tangy in the fresh chèvre. There’s also an aged, natural-rind raw-milk cheese called Henry, and the slightly stinky washed-rind Bevan. It’s named for the Wilcoxes’ neighbor, a logger, but he shouldn’t take it personally. It’s so good, though, maybe he should.


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