It’s been a crazy summer and going by way too fast. My kitchen table is covered in tomatoes, I’ve got a pot of cucumbers to pickle, the fridge is overflowing with squash and I’m getting ready to make another batch of goat milk cheese. Summer abundance!
Three years ago I took a cheese making class from Paula Butler at Standing Stone Nubians and got so excited that I decided I was going to make my own cheese. However, goat’s milk is not easy to come by and so I was going to have to get some dairy goats. The following spring, I got two Nubian does, Jane and Lizzie, from Bonnie Blue Farms and two Saanen bucks (to become wethers), Willie and Charlie, to be their mates. They were all bottle fed and I fell in love. Sweet, gentle and filled with joy – many a day when I needed a break from the desk, I’d just go watch them playing in the pasture. This was easy!
But, it was time to get milk, so we brought Dexter, the buck, home to visit last fall and we got three adorable babies this past spring. However, this is pretty much where the fun stopped – it was time to milk! Jane and Lizzy would have no part of it. It was a nightmare and the thought of going out to the barn to milk was not a happy expectation. Jane and Lizzie are what is termed ‘kicky milkers’ and for the first few months of the summer, I was covered in bruises. I didn’t even care about the milk and just gave it to the dogs and the chickens.
Eventually I started keeping the milk and it turned out to be pretty delicious. Hmmm. Maybe this cheese thing would work out after all. Then a month or so, I went to All Seasons Garden Supply to buy the enzymes and cultures I needed to get started. My first batch was chevre and I couldn’t believe it – it was astonishingly good. Then I made feta – another success. It only took two years of prep and around $2000 of expense!
All I can say is that when you visit your local farmers market and would really like to buy some locally made goat or milk cheese, but it seems just a tad to expensive. It isn’t – it’s worth every penny! It truly is an artisan, homemade product and we’re so lucky to have such wonderful dairies in our area who do this every day.