photo of hills Fantôme Farm sits in the midst of beautiful rolling hills near Ridgeway in southwest Wisconsin. It is a small farm with a milk house for the goats and a cheese factory where cheeses are made by hand.

When we -- Anne Topham and Judy Borree -- got our first goat, Angie, and her three week old kid, Gilda Radner, we never dreamed she and her progeny would or could support us. We wanted a goat for fun and picked Angie because she was a beautiful animal. But she helped change our lives.

We realized we wanted to work with goats. While trying to make goat cheese like a friend's mother had brought from France, we also realized that we truly love making cheese.

We also knew that we wanted to live in the country and to make an honest living by doing some sort of farming/agricultural work. We wondered if we could figure out a way to combine our interest in goats and cheese to achieve this. At that time, we knew only two places in the US where french-style goat cheese was being made. We figured Madison, Wisconsin would be a good market for this kind of goat cheese.

We knew about the Dane County Farmers' Market, which is held on the Capitol Square in Madison, where farmers can sell their products. We liked the idea of selling the cheese direct to customers and liked the similarity to the traditional way farmers in France market their goat cheese.

See more about these ideas in the full text of Anne Topham's remarks at the Conference on Taste, Technology and Terroir in Madison, Wisconsin, September 2000.