Contents of the box: 1 box contains 0.7kg of semi-hard goat cheese
Race: Weiße Deutsche Edelziege and Bunte Deutsche Edelziege
1 x "Eifelwürze" with natural rind as loaf (approx. 400g, wrapped in wax paper): spicy and aromatic
2 x "Eifelmilde" with white mould (approx. 150g each, wrapped in wax paper): when it is still young, it has a mild taste and a firmer consistency, it becomes softer and stronger with age
100% goat's milk, we use lactic acid and natural rennet for cheese-making
Conservation "Eifelwürze": Store the cheese in a cotton cloth slightly moistened with salt water in the vegetable compartment of your fridge or in a cool cellar (max. 16°C) to extend its shelf life; change the cloth 2-3 times a week and rub the surface with the cloth; can be kept for months
Conservation "Eifelmilde": Store it in the refrigerator or cool cellar (max. 16°C); after 4-5 weeks you should have consumed it
Cultivation in sparsely populated areas
I'm Manuela Holtmann. Our Vulkanhof in the beautiful Vulkaneifeld village of Gillenfeld has existed as a family business since 1961. In 1985 my mother took over the farm from my grandparents as a pure cow-milk farm. Ever since I can remember, my life has revolved around agriculture. Working for and with nature and the animals has become my life's work. I grew up with it, and so it was always clear to me that I wanted to become a farmer too.
Of course, I have experienced and learned many things from the bottom up, but I decided to put classical training in agriculture first. After graduation, the training to become an economist followed, which was a perfect complement to the first training. In 1995 the farm was completely converted from cow-milk farming to goat farming with an attached cheese dairy. Our success story of sustainable agriculture began with 37 tender goats.
Many eventful years followed at all levels:
We built the cheese dairy, the ripening room and our farm shop, where we also sell other products of the region. We successfully marketed our goat's cheese at weekly markets, sold it to regional gastronomy, delicatessens, specialist cheese shops and special regional department stores. In 1998 I married my husband Michael, with whom I have shared the tasks at the Vulkanhof since then, and our first son Klaus saw the light of day. 4 years later, meanwhile 140 goats were in the stable, our 2nd son Josef was born. Only 3 years later Matthias saw the light of day and our goat stock had grown to a proud 190 goats. Boredom never came up with us. And we never stood still. We integrated guided tours into our program and hired employees.
Healthy growth and various further developments required further measures: So I trained as an agricultural
specialist for artisanal milk processing. This also opened up a new opportunity for us: from 2018 we started our cheese school on the farm. Here cheese lovers and interested participants can learn how to make traditional artisan cheese in smaller groups of up to 16 people and in a cosy atmosphere.
We are a picture-book family business, which could not be better set up. Each one of us has his or her own special task, and when it comes down to it, everyone grabs at anything. Michael, my husband, is responsible for milking the goats and maintaining the farm, among other things. Our son Klaus, who successfully completed his training as a farmer in 2019, specializes in marketing and I dedicate all my knowledge and skills to the production of our special cheese. There I am supported by 9 women and 3 men in the production, care and sale of the cheese. My mother Inge has been retired since 2018, but how it is when you have been there from the very beginning ... You can't really "give up" this dream job. She also supports us in sales by the hour. I am also very happy that Martina Weber supports the farm in a leading position. She coordinates external appointments, organizes the markets and, "on the side", with a lot of love and enthusiasm, does the much sought-after guided tours of the farm and runs the wonderful cheese school. In this way she keeps my back free so that I can fully dedicate myself to what I enjoy most: our cheese! Private customers often ask: "Can I order your cheese directly? - with crowdfarming we can market our cheese directly to end customers who know our history and share our passion for goat cheese. It's a great way to support small artisan and family businesses. And in the end: you know where it comes from!
We cannot imagine a more beautiful environment than the impressive Volcanic Eifel with its unspoilt flora and fauna for our goat cheese dairy "Vulkanhof" in Gillenfeld. It is exactly this beautiful environment that inspired us to name our farm: The remnants from the time when the volcanoes were still active are still visible today in the form of the idyllic Eifel maars - volcanic craters full of clear drinking water. Our Vulkanhof has been in existence since 1961, and my mother, Inge Thommes-Burbach, took it over from her parents in 1985 as a pure cow's milk farm. In 1995 it was completely converted to goat farming with an attached cheese dairy. With this we have opted for an agriculture that is actually untypical for the Eifel - and with great success.
Our family business has been awarded as one of the best cheese dairies in Germany ('Der Feinschmecker') and is appreciated all over the world for high-quality and fine goat cheese products. And this is no accident. Only Ziegenkäse vom Vulkanhof tastes like Ziegenkäse vom Vulkanhof. What sounds simple describes at the same time the essence of our products. Because only the unique combination of climate, soil and landscape of the Volcanic Eifel and our goats, our way of keeping them and our natural hay feeding make our cheese what it is: a high-quality, natural quality product.
Each of our cheeses is made from the basic ingredients milk, rennet, culture and salt. To make our cheese, we use the chilled evening milk and the warm milk from our animals in the morning. We follow the iron rule: Only the best goat's milk makes the best goat's cheese. One kilogram of "Eifelmilde" from about seven to nine litres and one kilogram of "Eifelwürze" even from about eleven to 13 litres. Each of our cheeses is hand scooped and ripens - depending on the variety - with a natural rind, which is only created by the daily, careful care of the cheese loaves by hand. We carry out every single work step in the cheese dairy with the same care. This is the only way to create a very special, unadulterated slow-food product after souring, renneting, cutting, scooping, turning the loaves, salt bath and the final ripening storage. We make no compromises whatsoever with the quality of our products: Our goat cheese is and remains a pure natural product, completely free of flavour enhancers and stabilisers. Goat cheese from the Vulkanhof is genuine, original and unique - just like the Vulkaneifel. However, without the high level of craftsmanship of our master cheesemakers, even the best raw material, milk, would be of no use to us. Following traditional recipes, all the necessary steps are carried out by hand on our farm - with a high level of expertise.
Added to this is our love of the complex process of cheese production, as well as four other important ingredients: Patience, manual labour, many years of experience and - love.
Our promise of quality starts with step 1, the feed for the goats, the milk supplier. Because good goat cheese can never be made without good milk: Only the best, natural fodder hay from our own, untreated meadows. For example, the goats love herbs, including sorrel and thistles. You can find these spices and flavours in our cheese!
The cycle closes when we spread goat dung and whey as fertiliser and close the cycle. Our meadows are not watered. The annual rainfall is about 600- 700 litres/m² in the annual average.
The species-appropriate keeping contributes to the fact that the animals feel completely comfortable on the Vulkanhof. The main dwelling of our goats is a large stable, sprinkled with fresh straw and perfectly ventilated with healthy Eifel air. Here we supply our goats with everything they need to produce their very special milk. The unique fine taste of our goat cheese comes from the nutritious grasses and spicy herbs of the Eifel meadows around our farm. We cover our water requirements with the local water supply. The water comes partly from the directly adjacent Pulvermaar. With this we supply our goats and lambs, ourselves and the cheese dairy production.
In order to be able to guarantee the high quality of our products at all times, we naturally breed our offspring of goats ourselves. For the health of the animals and to avoid inbreeding, we buy additional bucks. Every year kids are born. We sell the bucks and from the female offspring we keep the best animals for breeding on our farm. Important criteria for the selection are longevity, health, good udders and claws of the goats, as well as good milk production with the best composition of ingredients. In this way we can constantly improve the quality of the goat's milk without having to keep more goats and thus we can always fall back on the best raw materials (hay from our own meadows).
Since 2011 we have installed a photovoltaic system on our barn roof. We use most of the generated electricity ourselves. In 2015 we installed a heat pump with a combined ice storage and air heat pump to use geothermal energy. Since then, the energy requirement has been reduced by 25 %, because we can now mutually exploit the processes of cooling milk and cheese and heating the milk.
Some employees have been part of our 14-member team for 14 years, which my family supports. Performance-related remuneration and cooperation is a matter of course for us. The Eifel is a low mountain range in Rhineland-Palatinate and is considered a structurally weak area. Today, tourism is of great economic importance and has slowly strengthened the infrastructure of the Eifel. Our employees come from the immediate vicinity, so we can offer our region important jobs today.
We are aware of the great responsibility towards animals, nature and ultimately people, and therefore our company philosophy is: We want to leave to future generations a balanced, intact economic, ecological and social structure with our farm. If, as a further effect, our customers - especially children and young people who take part in our popular guided tours and farm training courses - are sensitised to genuine, healthy regional products, to a careful use of resources, then all the better! We are proud of our farm. And grateful that we have been able to grow together in recent years - in the spirit of a sustainable philosophy.
Vulkanhof, Gillenfeld, DE
11 women and 5 men
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