May is three quarters of the way done already! Time flies when the farm is so very busy! We have enjoyed mild late spring weather devoid of the “valley heat” which is sure to come shortly. The goats are reaching their peak relative to milk output, which means all of it needs to be made into some sort of cheese. Chèvre, Feta, Tomme. It’s a grand “dance” to service our fresh markets, as well as wholesale customers, while still building an inventory to have products ready for sale during the winter months. It all needs to happen now when the milk “flushes in” before the does begin preparing to be mated in October and production declines. Literally, this time of year is our harvest.
The hay crop was a success! A gorgeous crop of grain hay. Barley, Oats, and Austrian Peas. Primarily barley and peas as the oats didn’t germinate as well possibly due to lack of rain on the front end of growth. This was a “dry land” crop which does not need irrigation. We may repeat this again next year as this hay in combination with the non-gmo alfalfa/grass hay grown by a relative in Oregon, and the free choice pasture browse provide a rich and varied diet for the dairy herd.
The kid crop is raised and milk feeding is completed. All kids were healthy throughout their raising and the vast majority have gone to their new home. (see our website section “Meet our Kids” for more kid information). We are keeping thirteen dairy replacement doe kids for our herd. A few Saanens, a couple of Toggenburgs, and a few experimentals. They are the future of our herd and something to look forward to! Their wether brothers will be available for purchase shortly for pets as well as brush eaters and pack goats.
Cheese making is going well and our spring markets have been strong. Chèvre, Feta, and Tomme are available at our Farmers’ Market tables. The Tomme is exceptional this year. It has been aged for six months and is a sell out. I’m hoping not to run out before our new release end of July. As a cheese maker, I find the Tomme to be the most satisfying to make and a challenge. Our Tomme is an unwashed curd raw milk cheese with a complex flavor profile owing to the properties unique to this farmstead.
Although the day to day rigors of operating a small scale dairy/farming operation are many, we continue to enjoy our growing customer base and loyal weekly farmers’ market customers, as well as the retail outlets and restaurants who value our products and our commitment to the land and our animals. To all of you we say many thanks! Your dollars make it possible for us to care for our land and animals in a high welfare manner. Collectively, the food purchase choices we make are powerful, and we actually get to “vote” for what types of agriculture and agricultural practices we desire to continue.
Be well and enjoy your local farmers’ markets and farmers! Until next time all the best from our farm! Deneane