In the late ’70s, eager to return to their rural roots, Larry and Clara Hedrich bought a “hobby farm” in the heart of America’s Dairyland.
Along with their homestead, they inherited two goats, a dozen chickens and a pair of peacocks. Little did they realize the goats would soon become the focal point of their lives. Hence, the founding of what would become LaClare Creamery, appropriately named after founders Larry and Clara.
Their five children recall how every family vacation included visiting several goat farms around the country. In their quest to learn from the best, they even traveled to Europe, where the dairy goat industry is far more advanced. The “hobby” had turned into a life-long obsession.
The family soon discovered that the key to better taste was their ability to control the entire process on their farm. Breeding the best possible stock, humane and sustainable herd management practices, proper milk handling and mastering the art and science of cheesemaking means LaClare products taste better. To assure a reliable supply of fresh, high-quality goat’s milk, Larry formed and still leads the Quality Dairy Goat Producers Co-op. In 2005, Larry Hedrich founded the Quality Dairy Goat Producers Co-op of Wisconsin and set the standard for raising dairy goats and producing the highest quality goat milk.
Larry and Clara’s daughter, Katie, produced LaClare’s first cheese, Evalon, in 2008. At the 2011 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, Evalon earned the Best in Show award (out of 1,604 entries).
LaClare Creamery broke ground on a state-of-the-art facility in 2012. This homestead operation gave the consumer a sneak peek at the cheesemaking process from goat to the final product and included a retail store and café.
In 2019, with the growing popularity of Chevre (fresh goat cheese), LaClare doubled its operational footprint with a 28,000-square-foot addition. The project included investments in manufacturing, a new store, a cafe, and viewing windows of the entire Chevre-making process.
On the heels of the expansion and a gain in momentum, LaClare added a larger goat viewing area, a 26-foot wooden silo encircled by a walkway for the agile goats, and a rock wall for the goats.
Today, LaClare Creamery’s mission is to pursue perfection in flavor and quality to produce distinctly delicious goat cheese.