Our Story

Cypress Grove Chevrelution - Our story of how a hippie and two goats saved the world from orange, tasteless cheese and started a Chevrelution.

Once upon a time...

In a decade called the ‘70s, relief came in the form of convenience. Dinner “food” consisted of Hamburger Helper®, Shake ‘n Bake®, and pre-packaged TV dinners. Cheese? Well, let me tell you… it was something else altogether. Americans enjoyed their “cheese” as slices of orange, rubbery, plastic squares.

Fortunately (for us), Mary Keehn, a self-proclaimed “serious hippie” and mother of four, lived in a different world altogether.

Hundreds of miles away from processed cheese and pre-packaged dinners there was a quirky place with like-minded people, embracing healthy food, hippies, and free love. A place where majestic redwoods hug sprawling beaches along the expansive Northern California coastline… a place called Humboldt County.

Getting Her Goats

In search of healthy milk for her children, Mary noticed a neighbor who had goats for brush control. She asked her neighbor if she could buy two of her goats and the neighbor replied with a grin, “Honey, if you can catch ‘em, you can have ‘em.” So a determined Mary went out with grain each day and eventually lured her first two goats—Esmeralda & Hazel. Those two goats turned to four and pretty soon Mary had, well... more. As you know, a lot of goats means a lot of milk and so our happy hippie tried her hand at making cheese.

Cheesemaking Begins

Mary tried and tested at her stove, creating and perfecting a fresh goat cheese that soon caught on. One by one the community started gobbling it up and Mary could barely keep up with their appetite for her incredible chevre. And so, in 1983 to be precise, Mary, our serious hippie, turned into an entrepreneur of sorts officially launching Cypress Grove Chevre, not knowing a movement was in the making.

Mary’s enthusiasm for making cheese grew and grew! With no formal cheesemaking training and only very orange cheese to look to in the U.S., Mary traveled to “the cheese mecca of the world,” a.k.a. France. She tasted and tested and learned from the masters and makers of brie, camembert, morbier, and more. In these cheeses Mary found many a muse. Suffice it to say, the cheese seeds were planted.

The Dream

Full of great cheeses and bursting with ideas, Mary was eager to get back to her kids and her goats who were all eagerly awaiting her return to Humboldt. As she slept on the long transatlantic flight home, something prophetic came to Mary in a dream. Perhaps it was somewhere over Kansas when she awoke with a clear vision… a vision of a new kind of cheese. A cheese inspired by the lessons from her trip… a goat cheese accented with a thick line of ash reminiscent of the fog often blanketing the expansive Humboldt coastline. The name for this vision, this cheese? Humboldt Fog.

Humboldt Fog Earns Worldwide Recognition

It took years of tasting, trying, and finally perfecting Mary’s dream cheese. Epicureans, gourmets and connoisseurs of the world agreed, “there’s something spectacular in this new cheese!” The Cypress Grove cheese, born from a dream, begins winning accolades and awards around the globe, sparking an epicurean movement. Then a funny thing happened, which took us all by surprise, the Cypress Grove cheese won a design prize. Metropolitan Home named Humboldt Fog as one of the “Best of the Best: People, Places, Extraordinary Things,” featuring it as a top 100 Design!

The ‘90s

Well now, thankfully, we see people’s palates evolving. As Americans develop a longing for kraft spelled with a “c,” the nuances of an artisan food world blossoms to include craft beer, chocolate, other fine cheeses. With these tasty treats, America’s palate is forever changed.

Humboldt Fog’s success fuels growth for more tasty, award-winning cheeses: Bermuda Triangle, Purple Haze, Midnight Moon, Truffle Tremor and more. In fact Oprah gave Truffle Tremor the highest score, saying this luxurious cheese was “...the best combo since Diana Ross and the Supremes.” It was named one her favorite things not once, but twice! Just give it a try and you’ll soon taste why.

A “Grover” is Born

So Cypress Grove finds people with a passion for great taste and for cheeses to join the team… we call them Grovers.

Cypress Grove grows, with more talented Grovers, expanding and broadening our unique line of cheeses. Americans savor these nourishing flavors and wouldn’t you know it, to our Grover’s delight, a wonderful kind of a cheese movement ignites, sparking something we like to call a Chevrelution.

Model Dairy

With this growing Chevrelution comes a demand for cheeses that please our clamoring fans. More goat milk is needed for more flavorful chevres and so Cypress Grove expanded its green land, with an impressive and lush 36-acre model dairy.

This dairy is no ordinary dairy. The gate and goat keepers are one of a kind, caring and sharing their love of the rind. It’s a perfect mix of high tech and eco-groovy—a happy place for goats to prosper and roam. It’s a pretty cool place for people, too. A great deal of thought went into the dairy, designed to be an easily accessible source of knowledge for the growing American goat dairy industry. Cypress Grove’s approach to herd and health management earned the dairy a 100% score for an American Humane Certification. There is no other dairy like it in North America. It is a marvel of technology and best practices from around the globe. Neat, huh?!

Chevrelution

This groovy Grover tale doesn’t stop here. No, my friends, the Cypress Grove story continues with you and the many ways you, our fellow Grovers, enjoy these award-winning cheeses. Recipes, pairings, beer or wine as you please... how you get your “Grove on” is an important part of the Chevrelution… Please share your story with us on Facebook. We’d love to hear how you continue our story...