After the snow melts and the ski bums retreat, Hokkaido evolves into a lush landscape perfect for grazing animals. In Eastern Hokkaido against the Hidaka Mountain Range, the Tokachi Millennium Forest comes alive in the warmer months. Originally established as a “carbon offset”, the property is filled with expansive gardens. The driving goal of Tokachi Millennium Forest is to provide a space that still exists in a thousand years where people can commune with nature.
“A commitment to live in harmony with the environment and contribute to people's health through the production of better food.” - Tokachi Millennium Forest
One part of the Tokachi Millennium Forest is RanRan Farm. In this beautiful landscape, 150 free-grazing Saanen goats have access to the fields day and night. The milk from these happy goats is used to produce a wonderful Hokkaido chèvre (soft goat cheese) cubed and marinated in olive oil with herbs.
A jar of chèvre cubes in olive oil can sell in any part of the world. It’s an ideal combination of flavors that few can resist. However, the Japanese consume very little goat cheese. It’s widely understood that the average Japanese person doesn’t care for “goaty” flavors and smells. In order to increase the appeal of goat cheese to the wider Japanese audience, RanRan Farm found a way to make it odorless.
The chèvre from RanRan Farm has no hint of “goaty” flavor. It is a characteristic they attribute to their free grazing practices, a clean barn, and the environment of rural Hokkaido. All of this, says RanRan Farm, leads to a happier goat, high-quality cheese, and no strong “goaty” flavors in the cheese.
Any potential for the Japanese to embrace goat cheese gives good cause for the adjustments made by RanRan Farm. While many Western cheese lovers would feel the loss of those distinct flavors, this farm is a valuable contribution to cheese in Japan. Tokachi Millennium Forest’s commitment to carbon offset is truly praiseworthy. And the fact that they have delicious cheese from happy goats makes it all the more better.
Check out the profile of Tokachi Millennium Forest's Chèvre in Olive Oil here.