Judy Schad, Founder
Judy is mother-grandmother-teacher-cheesemaker, and owner/founder of Capriole Farm. Growing up in the summers on her grandparent’s southern Indiana farm, she learned the joy of fresh, wonderful food, simply and lovingly prepared. With husband Larry and their 3 children, she moved in 1976 to their family farm in the hills above the Ohio River. A few years later, after being gifted with their first goat, the family had more milk than they could drink. “Cheese,” says Judy, “was the result of plenty, like canning tomatoes or making jam and pickles". Along with her friends Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove, Paula Lambert of Mozzarella Co., and Allison Hooper of Vermont Creamery, she was one of a group of women who helped each other create a community of American artisan cheese.
During her early farm years, she continued to work on a PhD in Renaissance Literature at University of Louisville, where she was both the fiction and general editor of the Louisville Review. Until 2012 she managed a herd of 500 goats, but now focuses on cheese and buys Capriole’s goat milk from the Indiana farmers who bought her animals. Over the years, she's been both a speaker and cheese judge at several national and international events in Italy and France; served as board member, conference chair, and vice-president of the American Cheese Society; served on the board of the American Dairy Goat Association and the Chicago Green City Market ; a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and Slow Food USA; and a recipient of Women Chefs and Restauranteurs 'Outstanding in Her Field Award'. In 2015 she was made 'Maitre du Fromage', one of the highest honors accorded to a cheesemaker by the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers.
Michael Ragains, Head Cheesemaker / Plant Manager
Like Capriole, Mike is a product of the Southern Indiana farmland. After high school, he spent 12 years working on A-10s in the US Air Force. In order to help their kids develop a connection to family and place, he and his wife, Shannon, made the decision to leave the service and settle their family in Indiana. Answering a Capriole help-wanted ad for a cheesemaker trainee “because it sounded neat” led him to an entirely unexpected outlet for the same focus and dedication he once used maintaining aircraft.
Mike is the the lodestar of Capriole, the one who juggles the many production-side pieces, from training new cheesemakers, to micro-managing our affinage, to fixing the tractor. He works more hours than there are in a day, and still has a smile for everyone. He can be relied on to point out the impracticality of any new plan, “Yes, that would be a great thing to have, but where will we put it?” If he had time to spare, he would watch sci-fi, read, and try to steal grand-baby snuggle-time from Shannon.
Tim Johnstone, General Manager, CCP
Tim followed a winding path to the world of cheese: from law school, to an unfulfilling legal career, to a stint behind a local cheese counter where he discovered his passion, and finally (luckily for us) to Capriole. In 2017 he became an ACS CCP, the American Cheese Society's designation of Certified Cheese Professional, earned by an individual who has acquired thorough knowledge and the level of expertise demanded by the cheese industry.
A renaissance man, Tim wears many hats, from coordinating customer orders and shipments, to hands-on cheese making, to constantly reviewing the Food Safety Modernization rules and guidelines and updating our food safety procedures. Perhaps, he says, "law school proved useful after all." When he's not at Capriole, he spends his time with his beautiful wife and daughter, supporting righteous causes, and dividing his reading between Batman comics and works by Wendell Berry.
Shannon Ragains, Office Manager (wife of Mike)
Originally from Cincinnati, Shannon and her family settled in Southern Indiana after spending 12 years moving around in the US Air Force. As an off-and-on student in the German department at IU Southeast, she had the spare time to just help out in the office at Capriole during the busy times of the year—though she's constantly urged by all of us to complete that one course needed for her German degree! As Capriole’s sales and production grew, the busy times became the new normal, and she was roped into “just helping out” full time.
Bookkeeping, customer service, and office supply inventory are Shannon’s specialties. She worries about the details (like: where do the paper clips go?) and leaves post-it note reminders for her co-workers. While playing Cards Against Humanity, she once drew the card “passive aggressive post-it notes,” and it made her day. Away from work, she studies German, kayaks, and snuggles her grand-baby.