Sunday, August 16, 2009
The Surfing Goat Dairy
Goat cheese is made from the milk of this herd of around 300 goats at the Surfing Goat Dairy. Everywhere on the farm I caught the goat scent in the air, which really to me seems similar to the special flavor of goat's milk, goat yogurt, or goat cheese. Goats definitely have odd eyes and hooves -- can't help thinking of how they inspired people to envision the devil. Though these goats seem quite nice-tempered.
The milking tour was fun for all of us. First Miriam and Alice fed some hay to a few baby goats -- they are quite gentle and have had their horns removed. Along with a couple of dozen other tourists, we then walked down to the field where the milk goats were grazing, and along with several herding dogs, we walked them up to the milking shed.
The goats willingly climb up on the milking platform because of the troughs of delicious grain mixture that they are allowed to eat while being milked. They kneel on their front legs, making the udders accessible to the goat girl (or whatever she's called). She showed us how to milk the first row of goats -- including the leader of the herd, who almost always gets in line first.
Then each tourist took a turn milking a few presses. Finally, she milked them with the machine, which pipes the milk into the dairy. After we left she had another hour or so of work to milk the remaining goats who had been standing patiently in the holding area waiting their turn.
The milk from this afternoon was to be pasteurized and then made into classic soft goat cheese, which will be flavored with herbs, fruit, or vegetables. Surfing Goat cheeses have won prizes at a variety of food fairs. We have tasted it before, and tasted it again after our final stop with some of the non-milk goats in the dairy.