The dream began in 2002 when husband-and-wife team, Chrys and Marty Tinsley, bought their first farm in Welling, near Tahlequah in northeast Oklahoma. Since Marty fell in love with raising goats in high school, dairy goats were the first livestock the couple purchased. What began simply as a desire to provide fresh food for their family blossomed into a thriving family business, yielding fresh produce and eggs as well as goat’s milk and cheese.
In 2011, Canyon Ridge Farms became the only Grade A goat dairy, with its own Grade A milk processing plant, in Oklahoma. This distinction means that they are able to process and sell the goat dairy products that are produced on their farm.
As is the case on any farm, there is always something to do. With a herd of 85 Nubian and LaMancha dairy goats, the chores never end, but it is a labor of love for this couple, their three grown children and Marty’s parents.
“The goats are milked twice a day, starting at 3 a.m. and then again at 3 p.m. After that, the milk is pasteurized and then either bottled or processed into cheese,” says Marty.
The Tinsleys currently offer several varieties of goat cheese, also known as chevre. Besides plain chevre, there are nine sweet and savory flavors, including Honey Almond, Jalapeno, Mexican Spinach and Strawberry Pecan. Custom flavors are also available.
“Our chevre is very versatile, and the possibilities for use are endless,” says Marty. “Any of our savory flavors can be used as a dip for vegetables, chips or crackers. They are awesome on bagels, potatoes, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, chicken, and they make gravies and sauces extra special. Our sweet flavors are wonderful on bagels, waffles, baked in puff pastry or just by themselves as ‘cheesecake’ bites. “
The Tinsleys gladly share one of their popular recipes as inspiration.
“We encourage everyone to use their imagination and let us know how they use our cheese,” says Marty.
If interested in learning more about the Tinsley’s wonderful goat cheese or other products, they frequent several area farmers’ markets, including Broken Arrow, Muskogee and Tahlequah as well as a couple of farmers’ markets in Arkansas.
Canyon Ridge Farm Mac & Cheese with Roasted Chicken
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. dried rigatoni
1 quart heavy cream
2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
8 oz. Canyon Ridge goat cheese
2 c. shredded roasted chicken
1 (10 oz.) box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Add the oil and rigatoni to the water and cook according to the directions on the package, 10-12 minutes. While waiting for the water to boil, pour cream into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rosemary and garlic and bring it to a simmer, taking care not to let it boil over. Allow the cream to reduce by about half. Stir in the goat cheese and chicken and continue cooking until the cream coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the spinach and artichoke hearts. Thoroughly drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce. Coat the pasta in the sauce and simmer over low heat for a few minutes. Serve hot.