If you're a cheese-lover living in Missouri, the name Baetje Farms is probably familiar. The Bloomsdale, Missouri, goat farm and creamery has been making its acclaimed French-style goat cheeses since founders Steve and Veronica Baetje bought their first goat 20 years ago. In the years since, Baetje's cheeses have won over 70 national and international awards and is distributed across the country. Now, after a change of ownership, Baetje is opening its doors to the world with a new event venue, tours and, soon, a tasting room.
Aspiring and established cheesemakers alike seek out St. Louis-based Neville McNaughton for guidance to grow and expand their operations.
When Steve and Veronica Baetje put the farm up for sale, a quartet of local investors – siblings Cara Naeger, RJ Clements and Eric Clements, and a childhood friend, Shanna Starnes – decided to step in.
"It's just really special," Starnes says.
The four also own The Dew Drop Inn and The Kozy Kitchen, both of which are also located in Bloomsdale.
In a town of only 500, The Dew Drop and its sister restaurant, The Kozy Kitchen, see about 14,000 customers a month
Starnes says that the decision to open the property up to the public began during a brainstorming session of what the four wanted to do with the farm.
"We felt that it was really important to share what was so special about Baetje Farms with the community," she says. "People want to know more about it."
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The team had three goals in mind: to bring in agricultural tourism, increase sales of the product and to open an event center and tasting room where folks could stay and enjoy the farm. The new event space is known as The Artisan, a free-standing building with indoor stone archways and large windows that is surrounded by an open field, a creek and a historic barn. It can hold up to 500 guests and is available for weddings, corporate events or whatever else you want to do on the farm.
The farm also now offers bus tours, which includes a tour of the creamery, barns and, the stars of the show, the goats. Tours and tastings can also be requested for events.
"Our team is really excited to share Baetje Farms with the community," Starnes says. "All of us are from the area, and we're just happy to share it with everybody."
Baetje Farms, 8932 Jackson School Road, Bloomsdale, Missouri, 573.483.9021, baetjefarms.com