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Trip Planner:   USA  /  Wisconsin  /  Door County  /  Sister Bay  /  Door County Creamery

Door County Creamery, Sister Bay

4.8
Gift & Specialty Shop · Hidden Gem · Shopping
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Love. Local. Cheese. This sentiment accurately expresses Door County Creamery’s aesthetics and inspired owner Jesse Johnson to open a store dedicated to humble goats milk. While in France honing his culinary chops, Johnson fell in love with goat cheese and the European philosophy emphasizing fresh and simply prepared food. Inside the recently-opened Creamery, ‘fresh and simple’ can be seen in the Door County, Wisconsin produce kept in the restaurant’s glass cases: just-picked cherry tomatoes, ruby strawberries, leafy romaine, and the Jesse’s delicate, soft chèvre.

Jesse began his journey towards the Creamery many years ago. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he apprenticed at Babcock Diary, famous for their delicious Wisconsin ice cream, and Dream Farm, nearby in Cross Plains. Afterwards, Johnson attended culinary school in Colorado, followed by a period of culinary training in France. The experiences brought Johnson back home to Sister Bay where his father, J.J., operates J.J.’s/LaPuerta and Waterfront, and where Jesse initially learned to prepare food. One evening at home with Rachel, they decided they wanted to raise goats to produce Door County chèvre.

This decision started the Johnsons on a several year plan “to make a dream come true.” Jesse needed to obtain a Wisconsin Cheesemaker’s license in a state that has some of the most stringent qualifications in the nation. Besides the certification, the Johnsons began raising a herd of goats on a farm about a mile out of Sister Bay — goats need to mature before producing milk. The process also provided Jesse with testing time, to decide which type of chèvre to produce.

The buttery cheese made from goat’s milk tastes airy and light on the tongue, especially when spread on the Creamery’s toasty crostini, available in small bags on the front counter. Behind every container of fresh chevre, hard work and perseverance were essential ingredients. While Jesse churns the cheese on the Creamery premises, Rachael, with some hired help, raises the goats that produce the milk on a farm located just outside downtown Sister Bay. The farm, with a substantial herd of goats, represents the other half of the Johnsons’ dream, completely invisible to the customer, when someone enjoys the Creamery’s chèvre or goat’s milk gelato.

Presently, they add goat’s milk from a Sturgeon Bay farm to produce enough cheese for their unique chèvre and the specialty varieties Jesse eventually plans to create: Wild Ramp, Valencay covered with an ash rind, hand tomes, and a baked juristelipia. The Creamery also serves daily sandwich specials, seasonal produce, baked breads, and hand-made gelato from goat’s milk with added cow’s cream. Light, thin crostini, or toasted bread crisps, can also be purchased to eat with the cheese, although fruit and chèvre were equally tempting.

Goats Milk Soap

Rachel also makes goat’s milk soap fragranced with local herbs. Goat’s milk soap has a PH balance closest to the human skin, and can be soothing for those with sensitive complexions. In the store, her hand-cut soaps are tied with twine. A soap scented with lemongrass has been popular for its gentle and natural qualities. Customers have returned to buy more soap, saying that their child’s skin problems have benefited from the goat milk formula.

The Johnsons began raising their goats about two years ago. This year they have a herd of 40 all individually named which they plan on increasing to about 70 or 80.

The Johnsons care for their animals year-round. Rachael noted that the goats need milking twice a day, at 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., in addition to feedings twice a day. Otherwise, the herd grazes on alfalfa and hay in the pasture. While the old adage says that goats “eat anything,” Rachael says it’s not true. Goats can be very picky, and if the desired milk will be used to make cheese, the quality of their food determines the quality of the cheese.

Besides feeding and milking, each goat needs their hooves clipped, their pen cleaned, and regular check-ups for signs of illness. Since goats exhibit distinct personalities, individual animals can be curious, shy, active or robust. While some goats are healthier than others, and able to withstand any fluctuation in farm habits, others might be fragile and find themselves under the weather at the least change in temperature. Jesse and Rachael have self-educated themselves on goat health, saving on veterinarian bills, an important feature of raising goats. Imagine the medical bills for raising 40 children!

Surviving 18-hour days, manning the farm, overseeing the restaurant, are all a testament to a faithful routine, hard work and the love the Johnsons put into every batch of chèvre and gelato. As a result, more and more Door County, Wisconsin residents and visitors have come to Love.Local.Cheese!
It couldn't be easier to arrange your visit to Door County Creamery and many more Sister Bay attractions: make an itinerary online using Inspirock's Sister Bay vacation planner.
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Door County Creamery reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
242 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • I’m only taking off a star because the girl behind the counter seemed less than thrilled to be there. We asked if they were offering samples of the gelato since there were some different flavors and.....  more
    I’m only taking off a star because the girl behind the counter seemed less than thrilled to be there. We asked if they were offering samples of the gelato since there were some different flavors and.....  more »
  • Stopped by on a cool Saturday afternoon. We had the BLT and the Turkey Brie sandwiches. Delicious using top notch ingredients. The Gelato is wonderful also. 
    Stopped by on a cool Saturday afternoon. We had the BLT and the Turkey Brie sandwiches. Delicious using top notch ingredients. The Gelato is wonderful also.  more »
  • We did the Farm Tour and it was so much fun! It was very informative and great to see where the product comes from and of course the goats were so cute and friendly. The lunch was yummy! The cheeses.....  more
    We did the Farm Tour and it was so much fun! It was very informative and great to see where the product comes from and of course the goats were so cute and friendly. The lunch was yummy! The cheeses.....  more »
Google
  • We tried three different kinds of gelato and loved them all. They also have a small shop with local cheeses and gifts as well as sandwiches.
  • Fantastic ice cream made from goats milk. No lactose in goats milk which is great for the lactose intolerant people like myself 😀; lots of other goat milks products like cheese and soap
  • When at sisters Bay you have to eat at Door County Creamery. They don't have too many selection of ice creams but the flavors they have taste great. We had Various ice creams but really liked Door County Cheery and Ultimate Oreo. However if you can have just one then you have get Chocolate Raspberry Truffle. This is the best flavor they have.
  • Love! Great for gifts, quick gelato treat, fresh cheese curds!
  • Awesome sandwiches! Fresh ingredients and friendly service. Also has a super cute gift shop area. Lots of adorable goat stuff for gifts.

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