Friday, May 28, 2010
I had the opportunity to ride with a friend up to an Amish community and visit a goat farm last week. What treat!
The farmer raises Saanen and Alpine goats to have fresh milk for a small raw goat cheese-making operation. The goats seen above are thin due to being suckled by kids, and had just that day been put back into milk production for cheese.
By law, raw milk cheeses that have been aged at least 60 days may be sold by an inspected facility which has their milk tested to be certain it remains safe.
The man was extremely gracious in showing us his small milking operation, the cheese house and the cheese-ripening 'cave' which was a refrigerated room in the block hillside basement of the cheese house. We got to sample a few of the Colby cheeses he makes, and bought a few to take home. Yum!
Just being in the milking parlor while they (his son and daughter helped) hand-milked 2 batches of 20 goats each, and seeing how easily they handled themselves into and then out of the stanchions, took away a lot of the trepidation I have had about getting my own milk goat. If his 40 goats can be so easy in that routine, so can my (eventual) one or maybe two. Of course, mine will be treated more like a pet that just happens to give me milk much of the year!