Ancient Greek mythology and Egyptian tomb murals dating back over 4,000 years both reference the art of cheesemaking. And by the time of Julius Caesar’s reign, hundreds of varieties of cheese could be found throughout the Roman Empire. Eventually, cheese made its way to our shores here in Hawai’i. And if you’re a turophile (cheese lover) visiting Volcano, HI, you’ll be happy to learn that in nearby Kurtistown, you’ll find famously delicious goat cheese being hand-crafted by the folks at Puna Goat Cheese!
Hawaii’s First Goat Dairy Farm
At Puna Goat Cheese, it’s all about the goats!
“Our main concern is keeping the goats healthy, happy, and comfortable, so that we can make delicious cheese for our community,” says Lava Stacey, who owns the farm with her partner Steve Sayre.
Ranging in color from brown, cream colored, and lava rock black, the beautiful goats of Puna Goat Cheese spend their days playing, feeding, enjoying cuddles, roaming on the volcanic rocks, and contentedly eating wild grass, which is high in nutrients from the volcanic soil.
In 1984, the Puna Goat Cheese farm was established in the Big Island’s Puna District as the first goat dairy farm in the entire state of Hawai’i! And for the past 30 years, Lava Stacey and Steve have been developing and operating the nine-acre farm.
Located in the Hawaiian Acres area of Kurtistown, the farm is home to over 60 goats, including a handful of adorable kids (baby goats)! On site, there’s a milking room and a dairy room, where the fresh milk is pasteurized and the cheeses are all handmade by Lava Stacey herself. Lava also grows her own herbs in the gardens surrounding the dairy building. The pasteurized goat’s milk is then transformed into feta, chevre, mozzarella, queso fresco, ricotta, and other assorted cheeses flavored with various farm-grown herbs like garlic, peppercorn, and rosemary.
The Art of Crafting Goat Cheese with Aloha
The art of crafting delicate, savory goat cheese starts with the goats. And once you taste the melt-in-your mouth Puna Goat Cheese made with aloha, you’ll know that it could only come from beloved goats that are comfortable and well-cared for.
Don’t let the name deceive you – there’s more to Puna Goat Cheese than cheese! Aromatic goat milk soaps are also hand-crafted at the farm. Choose from a natural selection of coconut, ginger, lavender, rose, and vanilla scents, to name a few.
Ready to taste Puna Goat Cheese for yourself?
“We sell our cheese all around the Big Island,” says Lava Stacey. “All the KTAs, Island Natural stores, Safeways, Abundant Life, Localvor, and Choice Mart.”
You can also pick up some Puna Goat Cheese at the Kohala Grown Market in the Kohala Trade Center, at Punachicks Farm’s stand in Kurtistown, and at the Hilo Farmer’s Market and the Maku’u Farmer’s Market in Pahoa. The farm is also a quick 30-minute drive from Volcano Heritage Cottages, so grab some fresh Puna Goat Cheese (and a bottle of wine from Volcano Winery while you’re at it!) and enjoy the pairing from the comfort of Tutu’s Place or the Ola’a House back in Volcano. Book a stay today!