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Larry and Clara Hedrich, the La & Clare part of LaClare, had a dream to raise their now five grown children on a farm. They purchased a 22 acre farm, in 1978, on the outskirts of Chilton where they began their dairy goat operation and raised their five children. The family milked over 100 goats for about nine years before Larry and another group of farmers started the Quality Dairy Goat Producers Co-op. The QDGPC has set the standard for good quality goat milk across the United States. With this they are able to supply LaClare Farms, Sartori Cheese, Carr Valle Cheese and LaLoos Ice Cream with goat milk.
Larry and Clara were looking to add value back to the farm through other avenues than just shipping milk. Through years and years of research this dream came to life in 2008 with their first batch of Evalon. LaClare Farms worked with a local dairy plant that had a small vat to craft a cheese out of 100% LaClare Farms milk. LaClare Farms had won their first award with Evalon at the United States Champion Cheese contest. At this time middle daughter, Katie Fuhrmann, our current head cheesemaker, began to gain interest in Cheesemaking and in 2009 became head cheesemaker. For the next few years Katie had worked on perfecting Evalon and LaClare Farms won Best of Show at the United States Champion Cheese contest! Katie was the youngest cheesemaker to ever be awarded this honor along with the Second Female and the Second Goat cheese. This cheese continues to be our flagship cheese with the awards it brings in.
In 2012 LaClare Farms came back to their roots, Chandoka Farms, the property in which LaClare Farms in built on today. Chandoka Farms was settled by Larry Hedrich’s grandparents in the early 1900’s. This is where Larry’s mom and 3 threes, Charmaine, Ann, Donna and Kathy were raised and hence the name Chandoka. Larry’s grandparents raised mink early on and then transitioned into a hobby farm as they got older. On December 15, 2012, LaCLare Farms broke ground for their state of the art dairy goat operation. In the winter of 2014 LaClare Farms was making cheese here on site full-time. With the great quality milk and craftsmanship of our cheesemakers we continue to bring in awards on our cheeses. Within the last year LaClare Farms has had the great honor of being the first runner up, Best of Show with its Standard Market Cave Aged Chandoka. LaClare Farms makes this Chandoka and Standard Market aged it in their caves.