Cheesemakers. Meeting a pioneer

One of the highlights of our vacation was meeting with Courtney Haas in Sutton, NH. When I was a kid, Courtney moved to town and began raising goats and making cheese. This was back in the 1970s, when there were few artisan cheesemakers. She struggled, she became successful, and she shared her experience with an entire generation of artisan cheesemakers that followed. She even wrote several books on making and marketing artisan cheese. Recently, here in Utah, someone gave me two books on cheese, and one of them was written by Courtney!

Courtney moved to New Hampshire from New Orleans, where she has been a Franciscan sister, or nun. Though she left her convent, she never left her faith behind. Her dairy was called Nunsuch. When she retired from making goat cheese a few years ago, she began making and selling rosary beads.

When we met with Courtney last week, she spoke of her long-time dream to found a community of prayer for older women, and how it appears that the dream may be approaching reality. Courtney had received permission from the Bishop of Maine to start her community there. She has a house picked out, and is quietly talking to prospective members. There are still several hurdles to be cleared, including selling her own home. But she has faith that it will happen – and so do we.

“Pray for me,” she asked us at the end of our visit. And we have. But I was already certain that her dream would come true. Courtney is an amazing woman with admirable faith – I have no doubt that she will succeed at this adventure as she has at so many others.

DJ makes cheese full-time in Paragonah UT. This originally appeared on his blog, Jackrabbit Journal.