Having a farm, even a hobby farm, has its high and low moments. Some projects turn out to be more than we can handle and some end in disappointment, but some things go just like they’re supposed to, or even better than expected! Let’s just say that we are on one of these farmer “cloud-nines” this week.
We just started drinking our own farm-raised goats milk!!!
We started milking one of our goats 2 weeks ago but we weren’t able to taste any of it for the first week and a half. This is because the first milk produced, called “colostrum,” does not taste… quite as good (Casey did taste it). We also had to treat our goat with penicillin when she had a fever, so we had to wait five more days to drink it. When we finally got to try it…
What’s to love about goats milk?
First, the flavor. We were surprised to find that it tastes almost identical to cow’s milk. Just a creamier, unpasteurized version– like whole milk from the grocery store but somehow with a greater depth of taste because it’s FRESH!
Goat’s milk is thought to be one of the most “complete” foods known to man, meaning that you can drink a glass as part of a meal, and you’ll have almost all of the nutrients and vitamins you need in your diet. In general, goat and cow milk have a similar protein, calcium and fat content–but goats milk has less lactose and cholesterol, and significantly higher levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Riboflavin. The nutrients found in goats milk are more readily absorbed by the human body, and the proteins and fats are easier to digest than in cow’s milk. And it’s also interesting to note that goat’s milk does not contain A1-casein, the protein which is most often the culprit in dairy allergies.
All of that aside, it just tastes good!
So what are we going to do with it? Right now we’re getting 7 cups of milk a day, and that is from one goat. Two weeks from now, we should be milking 3 goats! That is a lot of milk!
For starters, we’re becoming milk-sufficient. Even Gramps stopped buying it at the grocery store (we were surprised, as he is a man of habit!) Next, we will stop buying yogurt because it is very easy to make (we’ve made it before). Finally, we are excited to master the art of cheesemaking so we can even stop buying cheese… I don’t think we will ever be able to keep up with our ice cream habit, though. 🙂
What’s next after that? Well, next year we may consider a “share” program. Raw milk cannot be sold by retail in New York State, but this program is one legal way to offer it. People interested in a regular supply of milk or cheese could purchase a small “share” of our goat, making them a part-owner of the goat. Say someone wanted a log of goat cheese once a month, we would figure out what percentage of the goat expenses they would cover and make up a contract. This is all still being figured out, but we are pretty sure we’ll have it up and running by next year. We can’t wait to share this wonderful treat with you! 🙂