The Art of Cheese

Meet Kate Johnson

Director/Cheese Coach

kate johnson, home cheesemaker artisan

Kate Johnson is the founder and owner of The Art of Cheese.  She got her start as a cheesemaker as the director of Briar Gate Farm, her local family farm where she offers creative learning opportunities centered around animals and farmstead arts.   She raises Nubian, Mini Nubian and Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats which gave her access to delicious farm-fresh goat’s milk when she began learning how to make cheese at home.

After dabbling with a variety of cheese recipes for several years and taking a few classes here and there, she eventually took an Advanced Cheesemaking Course from Larry and Linda Faillace of the Three Shepherds Farm of Vermont as well as a course from Luella Hill in San Francisco.  She has won many blue and champion ribbons for her cheeses at the Boulder County Fair and has taught cheesemaking  classes through Colorado State Extension Services, the City of Longmont, Front Range Community College, Boulder Valley Lifelong Learning, and Cheese Importers as well as in private homes, schools and businesses.

After years of toting cheesemaking supplies and samples up and down the front range, Kate decided to pursue a brick-and-mortar location for her cheesemaking classes. In October, 2014 The Art of Cheese opened in a shared classroom space within TinkerMill in downtown Longmont.  When that location closed, they moved to another shared space within Launch Longmont.  In November of 2015 The Art of Cheese moved to a dedicated space in the Cheese Education Center within Haystack Mountain Cheese‘s new creamery.

In addition to being an award-winning artisan home-cheesemaker, Kate is also a Board Certified Life Coach with a B.S. in psychology and an M.A. in counseling. She stays involved in the community as an active member of our local 4-H program, co-leading “Goats & Galore” (Boulder County’s largest 4-H club) and serving as the Utility Goat Superintendent for the Boulder County Fair.  She is also an active member of the Colorado Dairy Goat Association.

Meet Becca Heins

Assistant Cheesemaker/Educator

Becca Heins recently joined The Art of Cheese to help with our growing demand for classes and events.  Once Becca started making cheese in 2012 she hasn’t been able to stop!  She has taken cheese classes through The Art of Cheese and Boulder Valley School District Lifelong Learning and brings a strong training background to The Art of Cheese. Before becoming a cheesemaker, she worked as the Director of Learning Services at a local software company and has a BA & an MA in Linguistics from CU. Becca was raised in a 4-H family (her mom was the club leader) and she has a strong interest in gardening and horticulture. She has earned Master Gardener certification in 3 states (Minnesota, Iowa, and Colorado). Becca also volunteers with the Boulder History Museum.


Meet Denise Milligan

Assistant Marketer / Sometimes Instructor / Assistant Dishwasher

Denise Milligan

In 2013 Denise’s husband said “Hey! We should learn to make cheese!” And now “we” are hopelessly obsessed with cheesemaking. Denise has been a big foodie her whole life – starting at 2 years old, making chocolate chip cookies alongside her Mom. Denise and her husband Al learned cheesemaking at The Art of Cheese and completed the highest level in-house certification. Since then she has returned to her farm family roots, and has fallen in love with local lambs and kids (the goat kind) and is a regular volunteer at 2 local farms. Her interest in Spanish cheeses has led her on some great adventures, visiting cheesemakers in Spain, and learning techniques that are rarely taught in the U.S.

About Haystack Mountain Cheese

Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy was started in 1989 by founder Jim Schott and his wife with five goats on a modest farm in Niwot, Colorado.  Eventually as the popularity of their award-winning goat cheeses increased, they moved their cheese making operations to a creamery in Longmont in 2004.  To keep up with demand for their cheeses, they began purchasing goat milk from the Skyline Correctional Facility Dairy in Canon City in 2007.   Happily, demand for their wonderful cheeses has continued to grow and in 2015 they began construction on a second, larger creamery in Longmont.  They invited The Art of Cheese to collaborate with them in this new “Cheese Education Center” and classes started taking place there in late 2015.