About Ballard the Ballard Cheese Team
Some of the Ballard Cheese Crew From left to right: Michael, Travis, Stacie, Steve, and Mathew
Stacie and Steve Ballard, started their 35-acre dairy farm in Gooding, Idaho in 1995. Steve wanted to start a dairy farm despite not having any personal experience in part because other family members were already in the farming business. Steve and his son Travis had both worked with heavy mechanical equipment and were good with their hands. Those skills were indispensable to the success of the farm. Today, the Ballard's operation is year-round, with about 100-140 cows.
Like many dairy farms in Idaho's Magic Valley, the Ballard’s initially made a living by supplying milk to large cheese operations such as Glanbia in nearby Gooding. The family diversified into cheesemaking with Travis in 2004 to add more value to their milk and diversify from the volatile milk market. Though the Ballards were novices at cheesemaking, their "can do" spirit and willingness to learn soon saw them producing award winning cheeses. The family began their cheese operation making cheese curds and then expanded into a full line of farmstead cheeses.
One of the things that put Ballard Cheese on the local map and won them many friends was the family's weekly presence at the Farmer's Market in Boise, Idaho. Come rain or shine, the Ballards made the supreme effort to load up on cheese, trek to Boise, set up their booth and spend all day providing free samples, and selling cheese. Regularly meeting with the public established the Ballard brand, created opportunities for customer feedback, and provided insight into what products customers were drawn to.
One of the reasons the Ballards are able to produce such rich milk and delicious cheese is that they value their Jersey cows, the environment, and energy efficiency. The Ballards set a goal of reducing overhead by 10% and eliminating propane use. These efforts led to the Ballards being honored for Outstanding Achievement in Energy Efficiency.
The Ballard Family:
Steve Ballard - Feeds and milks the cows, handles all manor of farm chores and equipment repairs, and helps deliver cheese to regional retailers, suppliers, and restaurants.
Stacie Ballard-The REAL boss of Ballard Cheese. Stacie is the secretary/ accountant and occasionally helps in the cheese plant. She loves the opportunity to have family around all the time on the farm, as well as educating people about the dairy industry.
Travis Ballard -The unofficial "boss" and master cheesemaker. He makes, packages, delivers cheese, works on the dairy, and shares equipment/farm maintenance and repair chores with Steve.
Michael - Steve and Stacie's grandson works on the dairy farm and in the cheese plant under Travis.
Matthew - Steve and Stacie’s grandson also cheesemaker.
"Every time I talk to Travis, he is doing something different on the farm. Cheesemaking (of course), animal husbandry, irrigation, heavy equipment repair, construction, farming....It is amazing to me the number of skills required to successfully run a dairy operation."
Bill Mullane, Ballard Cheese Lover and Family Friend
Farmstead or Artisan cheese is made from milk products produced entirely by our herd of Jersey cows on the Ballard family farm in Gooding, Idaho. We started making our cheese in 2004 and have won several awards, including People's Choice Award for our Golden Greek Grilling Cheese and first place at the American Cheese Society Contest, both in 2007.
Our cheddar cheese products range from fresh-out-of-the-vat cheese curds to rich and mellow aged cheddar cheese. Enjoy our 2017 Grand Champion Danish Pearl Gouda which has a creamy melt in your mouth flavor. New products include jour Idaho Grilling Cheese (Halloumi), Award Winning Truffle Cheddar, Holy Cow Swiss and Jersey Gem.
We like to spice things up a bit for you with a variety of cheese curds such as Garlic Herb, Garlic Pepper, Tomato & Basil, Dill, Hot & Spicy Pepper, and Plain. We're frequently introducing new flavor combinations, so if you don't see what you're looking for on our website, please contact us.
Watch the video below to see how we make cheese in Gooding, Idaho.