The hills are alive with the sound of goats at Singing Hills Dairy!
The farm is a small artisan goat dairy on 25 acres of rolling pastures near the Big Woods State Park in Nerstrand, Minn. Twice a day, owners Lynn Reeck and her sister Nancy milk from 25-30 mixed heritage-breed goats including: Saanen, Nubian and Alpine. On a good day, each doe (female goat) will produce about a gallon of milk. Every week Lynn turns this milk into fresh cheeses with a variety of flavors and seasonal specialties such as honey lavender chèvre, curry raisin feta, herbed dill cheese curds, and many more.
Goat cheese, which because of its fat content is more tart than cows-milk cheese, has a smooth, delicate flavor. It softens with heat but also keeps its texture for spreading on sandwiches, crostinis, pizzas, or even quesadillas (recipe for goat cheese quesadillas below).
You can find Singing Hills’ cheeses, whey-fed pork, and grass-fed goat meat from Singing Hills Dairy at the Mill City Farmers Market every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market always has a variety of family activities including a weekly professional cooking demonstration at 10:30 a.m., live music, kids Power of Produce veggie sampling club where children ages 3-12 are empowered to learn about local produce and able to earn two dollars to spend on fruit and vegetables at the market!
Be sure to bring your grocery-shopping list to the market on Saturday, Aug. 6 as the Mill City Farmers Market kicks off National Farmers Market week. One of the market’s sponsors, Chipotle, will be handing out $5 market vouchers to the first 1,000 visitors. The vouchers can be spent at the market on any take-home grocery products and are completely free of charge—a great push to buy that artisan cheese or weird lookin’ veggie you’ve had your eyes on!
Quesadillas with Goat Cheese, Greens, Fresh Herbs, and Salsa
By Market Chef Heather Heartman
Makes 8 half quesadillas
8 whole wheat flour tortillas
8 ounces Singing Hills goat cheese about 1 cup, room temperature
2-3 bunches of greens, cleaned, stems removed, and chopped (kale, chard, or spinach)
2 cups salsa (purchased or homemade. Should not be too juicy, as it may squish out of the quesadilla)
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, or basil)
In a large sauté pan, add 1⁄4 cup water and bring to a boil. Add the cleaned greens and a pinch of salt and cover. Cook for two minutes until wilted. This may need to be done in batches, as the greens take up a lot of room in the pan to start. Place greens on a paper towel to remove water. Squeeze out excess water, and chop finely.
Place four tortillas on the counter, and spread a bit of the goat cheese on half of the tortilla (about 1 1⁄2 tablespoon). Spread salsa on the cheese, and add the cooked greens. Sprinkle on some fresh herbs, and fold in half. Finish with the last four tortillas.
If grilling, lightly brush quesadillas with oil, and grill on medium heat until crispy.
In a large sauté pan, heat a small amount of oil, and cook until tortilla is crispy and golden.
Let cool before cooking if bringing to a picnic or party. No need to reheat. These are wonderful at room temperature!