By Amy Strauss
Chester County is home to several small, family-run produce and livestock operations, including a handful of cheese makers. Fred and Debbie Mikulak, of Elverson, operate Amazing Acres Goat Dairy LLC with a herd of 32 goats.
The business, inspired by Debbie’s 4-H upbringing, just marked its one-year anniversary. As children, Debbie and her twin sister had been proud owners of goats. Debbie thought she’d return to goat farming when she retired, but the twins and their families managed to buy sheep and goat herds in the 1980s.
The sisters ran a fiber processing business from home, but sold the business after a couple of years. Keeping the goats, Debbie and Fred moved to Honey Brook, and through the course of different farms and full-time jobs, took 25 years to embrace the concept of a cheesy career.
Debbie believes the work is in her genes. John Klossner, her paternal grandfather, was an award-winning cheese maker who won acclaim for his Swiss blend. He ran five beloved cheese factories in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Fred manages the outdoor workings of their farm and herd, which is mostly Nubian goats. The owners use Nubian milk in their cheeses because it is milder. Goat milk “is a healthier product and easier on the human body,” Debbie said. “Goats have always been my favorite because of their personalities.”
Social butterflies and attention-grabbers, the goats at Amazing Acres are gentle and friendly. They’re raised on good quality hay year-round, in addition to being grass fed and supplied with healthy grains.
Ten animals are milking goats, so vowing to never “over-milk” or “over-pasteurize” their animals, the couple also purchases goat’s milk to add to the quantity needed for cheese making. Allowing friends to taste-test her creations, Debbie pinpointed her most popular, especially the many variations of chevres, a fresh cheese with a consistency similar to cream cheese. It has a tangy and mild finish.
Coming up with blends like her Herbs de Provence (a blend of rosemary, thyme, savory, fennel seed, basil, lavender and marjoram), Rosemary Lemon, Dill, Chipotle, Cracked Pepper, and the well-known Cranberry, she makes sure each one is tested by the likes of Abby Morgan and Kate Stroh of Kennett Square’s Talula’s Table.
Debbie says that her cheeses are crafted from original concepts, rather than trying to replicate wellknown blends. The couple likes their business to be defined as a local production for local people.
“Taking the time to sit there is beneficial,” said Debbie of her farmer’s market participation. “You gain exposure, sell a lot of products and receive instant feedback.”
Amazing Acres also hosts cheese tastings and seminars at different venues.
Amazing Acres cheeses can be purchased at Kimberton Whole Foods and soon will be featured at Brick Oven Bread on Bridge Street in Phoenixville. Amazing Acres also works closely with Black Walnut Winery for wine and cheese pairings, as well as Amani’s BYOB, where their goat cheeses are utilized throughout the eatery’s menu.