Cheesemaker: Baetje Farms

Tucked into the lush landscape of Ste. Genevieve County, Baetje Farms’ goats jostle for position at the hay feeders inside the creamery’s big, red historic barns. The rich, delicate milk from Veronica and Steve Baetje’s herd allows them to craft some of the country’s best French-style artisan goat cheeses. With more than 60 awards – including multiple super gold World Cheese Awards – and press from the likes of The New York Times, this small producer has made a big impact with cheeses such as the flagship Bloomsdale, a pine ash- and salt-coated, mold-ripened cheese, and Fleur de la Vallee, a semisoft washed-rind cheese that melts in your mouth. (Photo by J. Pollack Photography)

Baetje Farms in Bloomsdale, Missouri,

RUNNER UP: Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville, Illinois,