ALTURA, Minn. — A Winona County woman has started her own creamery after studying cheese making from a young age.

The Winona Daily News ( reports Utica native Katie Wiste founded Capra Nera Creamery earlier this year by utilizing the milk her goats produce during their natural birthing cycle to create varieties of goat cheese.

Wiste grew up on a dairy farm in Spring Grove and always had a love for goats. Her interest in making cheese started when she won a goat in a 4-H essay competition. That’s how she acquired Blossom, the matriarch of her cheese operation.

“My family has always been supportive,” Wiste said.

In college, Wiste studied cheese making at Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese and in Perugia, Italy.

Capra Nera Creamery includes 15 goats out of Blossom’s lineage and a fully functioning production room, aging room and milking parlor.

During the peak in her milking season, Wiste’s goats can produce 30 gallons of milk at a time, which can produce about 10 small wheels of cheese, but as the year gets colder and their kids get older, the goats are producing less.

“I love my goats, and I love my cheese,” Wiste said. “I can’t really think of anything else that I’d rather do.”

Wiste’s cheeses are sold in restaurants in Rochester as well as a grocery store in Spring Grove. She says the supply these days hardly keeps up with the demand.

Information from: Winona Daily News,