OK, I am not quite current with teen lingo, but YES we are totally getting some goats. Our reasoning for this is threefold, hah! One, we buy 2-3 gallons of milk a week for our growing family. Two, having children has made us more conscientious of what food we are putting into their and our bodies. It is our belief that food in its most natural state is best, and what easier way to control that than in your own backyard! Three, goats are the comic relief of farms and they are so stinkin’ precious. This last reason is not integral to our farm objectives.
Originally I had thought a cow would be awesome, but I did not think I could keep up with all of the milk from a cow. I then thought about goats, but I was afraid that the taste of goat milk would be too different from cow milk and I didn't know if I could make the switch. So this began our quest. We went to three different farms, saw three different breeds of goats, and tasted all of their milk. Before picking the farms, I researched goat breeds for their milk production and taste.
The first farm we visited was a commercial goat dairy. In Pennsylvania, we are blessed to have the government’s approval to buy and sell raw milk. Raw milk is, as stated by The Campaign for Real Milk, “milk that comes from pastured cows, that contains all the fat and that has not been processed in any way—it is raw and unhomogenized.” This definition applies to goats as well. We bought milk from this farm and learned quite a bit about goats. Their goats were Alpine, which stand fairly tall, about hip to chest height. This size did not bother me, as we had larger goats at my family’s farm as a child, and they were similarly sized. This did concern Tim a little, as our kids are just about knee to hip high right now. The milk from the Alpine goats was good, but to me, it tasted a little goaty, like you had a slight goat cheese aftertaste in your mouth. The funny thing is, Tim could not taste that one bit, nor could our son, but my daughter was also not wild about it.. so maybe male and female taste buds are different?
The second farm we visited had LaMancha and Alpine goats. The farms we have been to have been amazing. Goat farmers are so welcoming and patient and will answer hours of questions! This particular farm even let me milk three of their goats. This was my first milking experience. It wasn't long before I had it down! And I cannot believe I did this, but I drank fresh milk, just milked from the goat! The taste was very good, but once again, we were dealing with larger goats. (I will make a future post on the fine art of goat milking)
The third farm we visited had Nigerian dwarf goats. Oh. My. Gosh. These are the cutest things you've ever seen in your life. They stand about knee high and have the spunkiest little personalities. Nigerian dwarf goats also have a 8-10% butterfat content, which is one of the highest amongst goat milk. We tasted the milk and it was sweet! We also had some cheese and it was very good. So the milk taste combined with the cute factor had us sold!
At the beginning of May, we welcome our girls.