Outside view of goat farming facilities at LaClare Farms in Pipe, Wis.
LaClare Farms, maker of U.S. Championship Evalon goat's milk cheese, has opened several parts of its new state-of-the-art, 35,000 sq. ft. farmstead dairy plant in eastern Wisconsin.
Owned by the Larry and Clara Hedrich family of Chilton, the facility includes a dairy plant, retail store and café, along with a milking parlor with housing for 600 milking goats.
Located in Pipe, Wis., at W2994 County Road HH, east of the intersection of Hwy. 151, the retail shoppe offers specialty cheeses, craft beers, wines, ice cream and many other Wisconsin favorites. The café will offer a menu for lunch and dinner. The courtyard space will also be available to rent for meetings or larger gatherings.
The plant, slated to open in August, will process cow, goat and sheep milk, and is a specialty dairy production and aging facility for custom processing as well as their own products.
"This has been a labor of love for the Hedrich family,' Larry Hedrich said. "This is one of the most modern facilities in the U.S. with vertically integrated components that allow us to produce the highest quality goat milk products possible."
The new farmstead dairy plant allows the Hedrich family to expand their current offering of goat's milk and mixed milk cheeses, including Evalon, Fresh Chevre, Cheddar, Fondy Jack and American Originals.
The dairy products are crafted by the Hedrichs' daughter, Katie Hedrich, a U.S. Championship Cheesemaker. The facility will also be capable of aging cheese in curing rooms, as well as producing cultured products and bottled milk. The couple's son, Greg Hedrich, is the business manager of the integrated agricultural enterprise. Jessica Hedrich as joined the LaClare team to run the retail store. Another daughter, Anna, will work part-time for LaClare Farms in herd management roles while continuing her off enterprise job. All of the siblings hold university degrees in subjects ranging from marketing to human resources to dairy science to education.
In addition to crafting LaClare Farm products, the Hedrichs plan to rent out space to dairy processors to help launch new products and to work with beginning dairy entrepreneurs to develop their new products. The facility will also offer public viewing windows into the milking parlor, dairy plant and cheese aging rooms.
The project was made possible by financial assistance from Fond du Lac County, the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation, and Calumet County Bank.