In September 2010, we moved ourselves, the goats, and the cats to a 38-acre farm in the bucolic central Massachusetts town of Hardwick, east of the Quabbin. The farmhouse dates from 1760 and sits along a quiet lane with hayfields to the west and barns and pastures high and low surrounding the house to the south and east.
We began raising dairy goats in 2001 and started our licensed goat dairy in 2005 in Carlisle, just 20 miles northwest of Boston,next to historic Concord.
We follow as many organic practices as practical. We manage our own gardens (whose produce we share with the goats) and hay fields organically, but we do not buyin alfalfa and straw that is certified organic, primarily for its lack of availability and/or quality. We do feed a certified organic grain-based dairy pellet, non-GM shredded beet pulp, and black oiled sunflower seeds to the does in milk, to kids, and to the bucks to foster body condition, but the mainstay of the goats' provisioned diet is good quality alfalfa and mixed grasses. Both the bucks and does graze pastures high and low. Seasonally, the goats browse daily in low woodlands off the ridge. We're looking to source local non-GM alfalfa hay.
Our goats are vaccinated for tetanus and rabies but are given no prophylactic drugs. We will use antibiotics if warranted by serious injury or illness.
The quality of our milk is key to our cheese and reflects our goat husbandry. I am hand milking still at least for the next few months, and our state milk tests consistently show exceptionally clean milk. I typically begin a batch of cheese each afternoon with the morning milk and the milk chilled from the previous evening.