I love goats! I really do have a thing for goats. In fact, I once worked on a goat farm in Ireland for 6 weeks, and dream daily of going back. So when I decided to start my monthly local challenge it was the obvious place to start. Elliot and I arrived at Drysdale Goats Cheese on a cool winter autumn morning, before 8am (we had to fit in with naps you see). Milking had just finished and the girls were happily munching on their post work feed.
Corinne greeted us with a big smile and walked us through to meet the goats. We chatted about how she got started, (buying one goat to live at their family home), goat cheese, cheese courses (one of which we’ve just attended) and selling cheese to local restaurants and cafes.
The matriarch of the herd, BALSALM, had her head firmly planted in the middle of the hay bail. She was 12 years old and nearly the end of her production life. I asked Corinne what would happen to her once she was done milking, he response was simple, ‘we’ll keep her until she becomes unwell, then we will euthanize’. We talked about the cycle of farming life. These animals are loved, hand reared as kids, but essentially they’re producers and well, if they can no longer do the job, it needs to be dealt with. I admired Corinne’s honesty and bravery. Something that struck me as so obvious, but had never crossed my mind before was the fact that milk is seasonal. The goats milk supply decreases as the days shorten and obviously increases after the bear kids.
These girls become pregnant after the age of two and once they’ve kid, they stay together for a week. The kids are then removed and are bottle fed goats milk until 10 weeks of age. This is roughly the time that they would naturally wean. Sometimes, for a particularly small kid this gets extended to 12 weeks.
The mothers are milked only once a day. Corinne says that to milk twice a day doesn’t produce that much more milk but is twice the work (setting up, packing up and cleaning up). So she just doesn’t see it as worth it.
Once the goats have been milked, she takes the milk back to the cheese factory in the shed at home, in Drysdale, and creates her beautiful artisan cheese. The cheese is sold at their farm gate on the first Sunday of the month, and they sell cheese to nearly 20 local restaurants and cafes.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on some cheese too. Corinne gave me some fettina steeped in local olive oil with screaming seeds, and some goats milk yoghurt. I’ve created a recipe using only local ingredients, but it’s something that you could easily replicate using ingredients local to your area.
Where are my ingredients from?
- Beetroot and Kohlrabi – Drysdale Farm Fresh Produce 12km
- Fettina (marinated in local olive oil and seeds) – Drysdale Goats Cheese 6 km
- Eggs – our backyard
- Cream – Inglenook Dairy 116km
- 4 small beetroot
- 1 large kohlrabi
- 120 gm feta
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup cream
- Cut beetroot and kohlrabi in roughly 1cm cubes.
- Coat lightly in oil and roast for 30 mins, or until soft.
- Whisk eggs and cream.
- Place beetroot, kohlrabi and cubed feta into quiche pan, pour egg mix over.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until browned and firm in the middle.