Alongside its well-known outdoor recreation opportunities, Colorado is an outstanding destination for foodies. The Centennial State is a great place to play hard and eat well, and it hosts a diverse array of Colorado cheese companies.
Colorado cheese makers offer an impressive palette of flavors and textures that any cheese lover will appreciate.
Cheesemaking has a rich history dating back over 5,000 years, and Colorado’s artisanal craftspeople proudly carry on these traditions.
Like so many other mountain-made products, Colorado cheese stands out among the best.
Colorado Cheese Makers
Cattle ranching and farming are time-honored traditions in Colorado. With all that fresh air and sunshine, the Rocky Mountains are an excellent place for raising dairy cows. Studies have shown that where cows live and graze significantly affects how their milk tastes. Mountain-raised cows are known to produce tastier cheeses.
Here’s a look at the best Colorado cheese companies.
Haystack Mountain Creamery
Haystack Mountain Creamery is an artisanal cheese factory producing some of the finest cow and goat dairy Colorado offers. Locally owned and operated in Longmont since 1989, you can find their delicious cheeses in grocery stores and specialty shops throughout Colorado and surrounding states.
At Haystack Creamery, the expert cheesemakers pride themselves on creating top-quality products free from artificial flavors, additives, or preservatives. Their award-winning cheeses have rich, bold flavors and a smooth finish. Some of their best-selling products include:
Green Chile Jack
Cashmere Baby Brie
Goat’s milk Camembert
Chèvre en Marinade
Plain and flavored goat’s milk cheeses
Avalanche Cheese Company
At Avalanche Cheese Company, the team of dedicated cheesemakers has been committed to producing the top-quality goat cheese Colorado locals have been craving since 2008. Their milk comes exclusively from goats raised on a farm in Paonia, the heartland of Colorado’s farm-to-table movement. Fresh goats’ milk is shipped daily to the creamery in Basalt, where it gets processed into five different types of goat cheese:
Ashed Rind Chèvre
Hand-Bandaged Goat Cheddar
Avalanche Cheese Company also produces old-world style goat and pork salami from animals humanely raised on their Paonia farm. Find their award-winning products at the Meat & Cheese Restaurant & Farm Shop in Aspen or at grocery stores and farmer’s markets across Colorado. The creamery and farm are open for tours by appointment.
MouCo Cheese Company
MouCo Cheese Company specializes in soft-ripened cheese made in traditional Bavarian style. Since opening the doors of their Fort Collins cheese factory in 2001, MouCo has taken Colorado cheese to a whole new level. The magic begins at a local dairy farm 11 miles from the cheesery, where they source fresh cows’ milk several times per week for making their signature soft-ripened cheeses like Camembert, ColoRouge, Truffello, Cheddar Curds, and more.
Find their products at most King Sooper’s, Safeway, and Whole Foods supermarkets throughout the Rocky Mountains and at various local specialty shops. Or, order your favorite cheeses through MouCo’s online shop. The cheese factory is open for tours by appointment.
Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy
Located in the beautiful mountain town of Buena Vista, Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy has been hand-crafting artisan goat cheese Colorado natives rave about since 2002. Along with their dedication to creating the highest quality goat dairy products, Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy is also committed to practicing sustainable agriculture, treating their animals humanely, and educating the community about the “function and health of local food systems.”
Get the goods straight from the source by visiting the Jumpin’ Good Country Store in Buena Vista. Or, order online and have your favorite goat cheese shipped anywhere in the US.
Rocking W Cheese
As the only artisanal cheese factory Colorado offers on the Western Slope, Rocking W Cheese takes pride in its history of being a family-operated dairy since 1965. These cheeses are hand-crafted in small batches, ensuring the finest quality.
Olathe provides an ideal environment for raising dairy cows and turning farm-fresh milk into award-winning Colorado cheese. Find Rocking W cheeses at supermarkets and specialty shops across Colorado, or have them delivered right to your door by shopping through their online store.
Laz Ewe 2 Bar Goat Dairy
Laz Ewe 2 Bar Goat Dairy is based out of Colorado’s scenic San Luis valley, near the town of Del Norte. Its beginnings date back to the 1880s when the Knoblauch family staked their homesteading claim and started a dairy cattle ranch.
Still in the family today, the name comes from the original brand used by the Knoblauch Ranch, the Lazy U 2 Bar. In addition to its namesake goat cheese, Lazy Ewe 2 Bar Goat Dairy has expanded its operations to include cow and yak cheeses and meat products.
All products are certified hormone and antibiotic-free. They’re produced using sustainable land management and humane animal practices. Find their dairy products at Whole Foods and Natural Grocers supermarkets and various specialty shops across Colorado, or order online. Book a free tour on Sundays, Mondays, or Tuesdays to learn more about the farmstead.
Based in the Animas Valley near Durano, James Ranch is a family-run operation committed to sustainable agriculture. All the cows are 100% grass-fed, and their pastures and gardens are maintained using regenerative growing practices. In addition to their wide selection of artisan Colorado cheese, James Ranch also offers beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and raw milk.
Take a trip to the James Ranch Market, which is open year-round, and discover all the incredible food from the ranch and other regional producers. You’ll find a seasonal selection that includes:
Wild-caught Alaskan salmon
The Art of Cheese
The Art of Cheese is a Longmont-based cheesemaking school. Founder Kate Johnson got her start as a cheesemaker at her family’s local Longmont goat farm, Briar Gate Farm. After several years of teaching cheesemaking around the Front Range, Johnson settled into a brick-and-mortar location in 2014. In 2019, she moved her cheesemaking school back to the family farm. In response to the pandemic, The Art of Cheese began offering online cheesemaking courses in 2020.
These days, aspiring cheesemakers can access courses from The Art of Cheese in various formats. On-the-farm courses are back in full swing, along with occasional in-person classes at other locations. Online classes are offered via live Zoom events, on-demand downloads, and DVD versions. Discounts and additional mentoring support are available when you join their membership club.
Enjoy Mountain-Fresh Colorado Cheese
From unique flavors and textures to the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re supporting sustainably-run local businesses, these Colorado cheese companies offer something special for cheese lovers everywhere. By shopping with local Colorado cheese makers, you’re not only getting top-quality dairy products but also strengthening eco-friendly agriculture and upholding a long-standing tradition of farming and ranching in the Rocky Mountains.
Cow and Goat Cheese Colorado Pairings
Now that you’ve got your hands on some delicious Colorado cheese, here are some other food and beverages that you might like to pair it with: