We’ve Got Your Goat
Ah, goats. The beloved horned ruminant might bring to mind pocket-size backyard pygmies, rich and tangy chèvre, milky bars o f soap and the now infamous Belmont Goats. But there is more to our cloven friends than meets the eye. Goats are raised for land clearing, meat, dairy, fiber and friend. If you’ve been thinking about getting your goat on, we’ll get you started with plenty of resources from husbandry and halal meat to homestead supplies and herd rental.
There’s no lack of goat’s milk in Oregon, with many local farms offering the raw stuff. You can find ice-cold bottles at Naked Acres Farm (call before stopping by), or swing by their booth on Tuesdays at the year-round Lloyd Farmers’ Market. Local food co-ops are also a good bet when looking for a selection of raw goat’s milk.
Want to use the milk to make your own delicious chèvre and feta? Learn the art of cheesemaking at Portland Homestead Supply Company, which often teams with Curds on the Way to offer the skills and goods that’ll make you a cheese champion. Portland’s Urban Cheesecraft sells cheese kits and supplies at a handful of local retail stores and online.
If you’re not ready for the DIY challenge, there are plenty of local farms that produce stellar goat cheeses. Award winners include a fresh rindless Classic Chèvre from Briar Rose Creamery and an aged and orange-hued Beltane encased in a bloomy rind from Rivers Edge Chèvre. For a show-stopping sweet treat, try Portland Creamery’s outstanding cajeta, a decadent caramel sauce crafted with fresh goat’s milk and a hint of cinnamon.
Sample a range of local cheeses at one of the cheese festivals that happen throughout the year, including the annual Oregon Cheese Festival hosted by Rogue Creamery, March 14 to 16 in Central Point, and The Wedge, a farmers’ market-style affair in Portland each October.
Naked Acres Farm | 16301 SE Foster Rd. | nakedacrespdx.com
Lloyd Farmers’ Market | NE Holladay & 7th Ave. | lloydfarmersmkt.net
Portland Homestead Supply | 8012 SE 13th | homesteadsupplyco.com
Curds on the Way | curdsontheway.com
Urban Cheesecraft | urbancheesecraft.com
Briar Rose Creamery | briarrosecreamery.com
Rivers Edge Chèvre | threeringfarm.com
Portland Creamery | portlandcreamery.com
Oregon Cheese Festival | oregoncheeseguild.org
The Wedge | thewedgeportland.com
The Goods on Goats
If you’re looking to learn more about the history of the noble goat, take a trip to Fairview Farm, a popular goat dairy in Dallas. They recently launched a goat museum, the first of its kind in the United States. While you’re there, swing by their farm store to pick up a variety of products, including their delicious all-natural goat’s milk ice cream. If you think you’re ready to launch a backyard venture, Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply has got the goods, including feed, bedding and books. Plus, they host a variety of educational classes on subjects from making goat cheese to rearing a herd. There’s also the Central Oregon Goat Association, Northwest Oregon Dairy Goat Association, Oregon Meat Goat Producers and other associations whose missions are to build community and supply resources for folks in the business.
Battling an invasive jungle in your backyard? No problem! Kick gas-powered removal equipment to the curb and call up Sauvie Island Goat Rental, who will loan you a hungry herd to chomp and stomp your problems away.
Fairview Farm | 2340 SW Fairview Ave., Dallas | fairviewfarmdairy.com
Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply | 2615 SE Schiller | naomisorganic.com
Central Oregon Goat Association | thecoga.org
Northwest Oregon Dairy Goat Association | nwodga.org
Oregon Meat Goat Producers | omgp.org
Sauvie Island Goat Rental | sauviegoats.com
Billy the Kid
Over the last few years, there has been some coverage about a problematic “byproduct” of goat dairies: bucks. Although goat is the most widely consumed meat in the world, it’s relatively uncommon in the United States, which means bucks are less profitable and desirable than does. And here lies the conundrum: In order for female goats to produce milk, they must repeatedly give birth. No kids, no milk. Many goat breeds are capable of kidding throughout their entire lives, leaving dairy farms with a lot of surplus bucks.
Although these boys can be used for land management, packing, studding or fiber, rearing male goats is difficult for a variety of reasons, including rambunctious personalities and a rather unfortunate odor. Additionally, breeds are chosen to serve a specific purpose. For example, Nubians are a popular dairy goat, but a Nubian buck will lose out to the meatier Boer and Spanish goats at the butcher every time.
One answer for someone entering small-scale dairy production is to raise “dual purpose” breeds like Kinder, known for its ability to produce high-quality milk and meat. But the fact remains that there isn’t a strong goat meat market here. This means goats are often slaughtered after birth because rearing costs can’t be recouped through sale.
In 2011, Heritage Foods USA, Slow Food’s marketing arm, stepped up to address the problem with a campaign called “No Goat Left Behind” that supports goat dairies by promoting the consumption of goat meat as a substitute for veal and lamb.
Goat meat shines in savory dishes hailing from the Middle East, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. If you’re ready to experiment with some new flavors in the kitchen, stop in at Barbur World Foods, Village Market, or Halal Meat and Mediterranean Foods. Chat up one of the butchers to find out which products hail from Oregon farms.
In the end, the best way to get in touch with your inner goat—and the ethics behind the products you buy—is to visit with your local farmer at the market or in the pasture. Happy (bl)eating everyone!
No Goat Left Behind | heritagefoodsusa.com/ventures/goat.html
Barbur World Foods | 9845 SW Barbur Blvd. | barburworldfoods.com
Village Market | 4632 N Trenton St. | villagegardens.org
Halal Meat and Mediterranean Foods | 11535 SW Pacific Hwy.