Although our goats are of French Alpine stock, they were born in the Berkshires in a small village. Their accents are more New England than Paris and they are completely at home frolicking in the well-tended fields of their farm. They are short haired goats, medium to large-sized, sober-faced with “Roman” noses and the only breed with up-right, alert ears.
The graceful, fine-boned creatures come in many colors–from white to shades of cream, fawn, red, saffron, gray and black, or combinations thereof.
They are hardy and adaptable and thrive in varied climates. A large Alpine dairy doe can produce up to 3 quarts of milk a day–a feature important in a world where many people must rely on goat’s milk. It’s every bit as nutritional as cow’s milk, but contains smaller fat globules, and is, therefore, easy to digest. It also does not require homogenization, which makes it advantageous for use in third-world countries. Goat milk can be used to feed other animals–motherless lambs or foals, for instance. The does are very maternal and willing to adopt and nurse any strays.
Goats were being herded in Persia more than 9000 years ago–the first animals to be tamed by man. Now there are over 210 breeds and an estimated 450 million in the world. Highly prized, not only for their milk but also for their coats –the coats of some breeds are the source for our cashmere and mohair coats.
These lively, sociable, and inquisitive creatures are intelligent enough to learn how to open latches on farm gates.
Alpine goats have recently been introduced into the hills surrounding Berkeley (and other areas of northern California) to reduce thickets of combustible vegetation in what has become a preferred method of fire prevention. Goats, with their four-chambered stomach and seemingly limitless appetite, nibble and remove the dense undergrowth of flammable grasses and shrubs as well as the lower branches of trees (Alpines can jump up to 5 feet), preventing “laddering” in which flames sweeping through grass can climb trees.
Your goat will be milked in the “parlor” that connects directly to the white-tiled creamery where the hand-crafted (artisanal) cheeses are made. As required by the USDA, the milk will be pasteurized which distinguishes it from imported French cheese –even though Pasteur was French! The cheese from these small, carefully tended batches is made from fresh, Grade A, goat’s milk–not from the lower grades that are often thought suitable for cheese. No preservatives, stabilizers, artificial ingredients, or additives of any kind are used.