Mad Greens is mad about Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy -- and last month ditched its national cheese purveyor in favor of a new partnership with Haystack Mountain. Its chevre is now used exclusively in Mad Greens's eleven locations along the Front Range, and anyone who's tried even a taste of Haystack's creamy, tangy, crumbly chevre will appreciate the pairing of the two local companies as much as, well, the merging of leafy greens and fresh goat cheese.
When I ate at the Mad Greens in Cherry Creek recently, I ordered one of the more popular signature salads, the Crazy Ivan, which is made with baby greens, roasted beets, pumpkin seeds, house-made croutons with sherry-molasses vinaigrette -- and a liberal portion of goat chevre. Chevre's natural buttermilk tanginess and crumbly, almost quicksand-like consistency added both flavor and texture to the salad. That cheese was a highlight of the meal -- and it's good to see the company making local ingredient sourcing a priority.
When MAD Greens opened its first location in Centennial in 2005, it featured a few ingredients from local purveyors and farms -- but today the company sources its fresh produce and proteins from local farms whenever possible. That includes mushrooms from Rakhra Mushrooms in Alamosa, romaine lettuce from Charles Johnson Farms in Center, cherry tomatoes from Golden-based Agriburbia, bread from Udi's Artisan Bakery in Denver, and nuts from Olomomo Nut Company out of Boulder. Now you can add Boulder's Haystack Mountain cheese to that list, and the menu.
"By making the switch from a California producer to Haystack Mountain, we sustain a small, local creamery and lower our carbon footprint significantly," Marley Hodgson, Mad Greens founder and CEO, said in announcing the switch. "Most important, Haystack chevre is of the highest quality and tastes great. We're pleased to support such an excellent producer who's right in our back yard."
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Hodgson anticipates purchasing at least 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of goat cheese annually from Haystack Mountain. In addition to the Crazy Ivan salad, the cheese is used in the Marilyn Monroe panini and the chain's locals-only Alferd Packer salad -- a seasonal menu item offered each summer featuring all locally grown ingredients, including Palisade peaches, Olathe corn, and local green beans and lettuce.