Something the chap and I like to do when we go out on weekends is to find small, local companies who produce food (usually dairy products from high-welfare animals).
Where I live, there are no ‘local’ shops and delis, just supermarket giants who I frankly don’t trust as far as I can throw. I don’t eat meat if I can avoid it, and the only eggs I will buy are from happy hens who I can see scratching around in the grass with my own two eyes. Neither the chap or myself really eat animal products as it is really difficult to guarantee welfare, and we would rather not support ambiguous suppliers where we can’t see the standards the animals are raised in for ourselves.
I can’t drive, so my adventures are heavily reliant on being chauffeured around.The chap loves goat milk, goat yoghurt, goat cheese, and scratching goats behind the ears, and I managed to find a tiny dairy about half an hour drive away which does raw goat milk, so I commandeered the sat nav so I could surprise the chap.
Raw goat milk is supposedly chock full of probiotics and whatnot, and I’m all into that. Honestly, I was expecting a little farm shop. It was not a farm shop. It was a farm, which was a little hard to find, and poorly signposted, but we pulled into the yard and saw an a4 laminated bit of paper stuck to a fence saying ‘goat milk’.
I think you can tell a lot about a farmer by how clean and tidy his yard is and this place was lovely. There were some young calves in a barn with their mums next to the car who looked very friendly, happy and healthy and who snotted all over the chap’s sleeve when he went up to say hello. We eventually saw someone walking around and asked them about the dairy and they got the woman in charge of it to come and meet us.
The first thing she asked us was if we wanted to see the goats. OF COURSE! we would love to! Always! All of the yes! We were led into a well kept barn full of ankle deep fresh straw.
A few of the goats were in separate pens: one pen had 5 pregnant goats (‘does’), one pen had a new mother and her three day old twins, and a large penned off area had the rest of the goats and older kids. They had plenty of space to run around, hay bales to jump over, and access to a pasture outside.
There were probably about 16 goats in total and the woman knew every one of them by name apart from a few of the kids who had yet to be named.
She moved too fast for me to take a clear photo of her, but one of the does, Rachel, is a Nubian goat, and the poor thing has a twisted face. It doesn’t seem to affect her ability to eat or her quality of life, and she is just the sweetest soul and it was a pleasure to make friends with her.
I was absolutely smitten with the kids. I could have stayed in there all day petting them. This little one kept nibbling my fingers. I genuinely wanted to take him home with me.
They were obviously very loved and very well looked after. They weren’t overcrowded, they didn’t have massive ear tags that can get caught on things – some of them didn’t have any ear tags at all which is what I love to see.
They weren’t crammed full of unneccessary drugs, the kids were not separated from their mothers, the does udders were healthy, and their milk was tested every two weeks to make sure it was safe to drink without pasturising it.
I have never really been interested in goat products as I always understood them to be pretty pungent and to smell like goat, so honestly I was a bit wary when the chap bought two bottles of milk and gave one to me, but I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised.
It was really thick and creamy and a little sweet. I think I might actually like goat milk more than cow milk. Which is probably just as well now I know The Flying Goats Dairy is not too far away, and I have seen for myself how loved, well looked after and happy the goats are.
It makes such a difference to know exactly where your food comes from and to have a chat with the person who looks after it.