No (local) goat cheese for you

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  • The Goat Cheese Lady

Lindsey Aparicio has a dream.

"I'd like the Springs to follow in Denver's footsteps and allow goats," the woman better known as the Goat Cheese Lady writes in an e-mail to the Indy. "At this point, Denver allows 2 pygmy goats in any size yard, the way I understand it. Pygmy goats are no bigger than a dog, their poop doesn't smell as bad, they are often times quiter [sic], and they provide their family with fresh milk and the potential for homemade cheese, yogurt, kefir, soap, lotion...."

We've e-mailed the city of Denver to confirm their policy on hoofed animals. In any case, it's not just the policy on goats in the city that Aparicio would like to see changed in the new year either; she also can't sell the cheese she makes from the goats she is able to maintain in the county. "It is not legal for anyone in the US (per FDA regs) to sell cheese that is not sourced from milk that is from a licensed dairy and then made in a commercial kitchen," she writes. "I don't have either ... but I want to be allowed to sell directly from my farm to people who want to buy it."

Besides the federal regulations, all that is a long way away if it were to happen within the city. (Calls to El Paso County went unanswered.)

"If you have, kind of, a production thing, or production dairy, then that particular use is only allowed in certain zones," says city planner Erin McCauley in a phone conversation. "If it’s more than four goats, you need a commercial stable anyway, which is only allowed in certain zones as well. ... You [also] have to have that 37,000 square feet per lot, and a lot of property within the city is not that large."

The whole issue came to mind when I was thinking about why there's no craft cheese producers in the Colorado Springs area. Not that there's that many in the state to begin with — Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy comes to mind — but the lack just seems odd in an area with abundant farm land and a love of craft food.

But if it can't be done in the city, then production will hopefully begin in the county. Regardless of where it happens, though, Aparicio, who teaches classes on cheese-making in lieu of selling her own stuff, just wishes she could do her thing free of stringent oversight.

"I believe that people who have eaten my cheese, who trust our practices, who know raw milk products are healthier for them and who believe they should be allowed the freedom of choice to choose what food they buy, should be allowed to purchase cheese from me," she writes, "regulated only by their confidence in my cheesemaking skills, sanitation procedures and our farming practices."

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