Herd Shares - Fresh Goat Milk and Goat Cheese
Wish you could have goat milk to drink or use to make your own cheese, yogurt and kefir? We offer a limited number of herd shares each milking season (April -December). Check out the FAQ's below and feel free to email us at homestead@AmaltheaRidge.com with questions or to request more information.
Herd Share FAQ's:
What is a herd share?
A herd share is a contractual agreement between us and you in which you lease an agreed upon % of the herd. You pay a lease fee upon origination of the contract that covers the lease for the entire season. Fees related to the boarding are due monthly. You pick up your share of the milk on a weekly basis since milk is perishable.
I've had goat milk. It is awful! Why would I want a share??
If you had store bought goat milk, you haven't really had goat milk. It takes a long time to get a product from a farm to a grocery store shelf, and then to your refrigerator, and eventually, your table. During that process, fats and proteins are breaking down, and the ones unique to goat milk make it taste and (if it is really old) smell like, well, like a goat. We tried to fob store bought goat milk off on our children once. It went like this...
Me: Do you want some goat milk?!?
*Serving of store bought goat milk ensued. Sips were taken. Faces were made. Milk was spit on the floor.*
Me: What's wrong?
Children: No, Mommy. We want GOAT MILK!!
*I tried goat milk. Faces were made again, this time by me. It was awful. I poured $7 down the drain and counted how many days until we had fresh milk again!*
The moral of this story: fresh goat milk is creamy, sweet and delicious. It is not the goat milk you know. Our shares are only slightly more than store bought goat milk but the flavor difference is immense! Don't believe us? We give taste tests. Email us at: homestead@AmaltheaRidge.com!
Is it organic?
We are not certified organic because we are not selling a product. However, we feed organic feeds and follow organic guidelines in the feeding and maintenance of our animals.
How do you maintain your animals?
We put the best quality ingredients into our animals so they can make the best quality milk possible. We feed organic grains, fodder & alfalfa along with as much locally sourced hay as they want. No hormones. Antibiotics or dewormers are only given in medically necessary cases, which doesn't happen very often. Any animal treated is withdrawn from milking. In this instance, milk for all share holders would decrease until the doe is placed back in the milking cue. Check out this blog post for more info on our milk!
How much milk should I expect?
Goats have a 10 month lactation cycle, and they don't give the same amount of milk throughout the whole cycle. After babies are born in spring, they drink all the milk for a month. Then they are slowly weaned onto hay and grain making milk available for humans. This is when we begin shares for the season. The amount of milk begins low, gradually increasing to full production through the summer. During fall, milk production begins to decrease as the does prepare for another round of babies. We dry them off in January. So! The amount of milk you can expect is not fixed. A share is 1/7th of the milk a goat makes per week (ie one day's worth of one doe's production averaged from the herd) We say expect an average of 1 gallon per share because our does average 1 gallon per day. When milk production is low, you can expect less and when milk production is high you can expect more.
So how much processed dairy comes from a share?
If your share produces a gallon of milk, it would turn into a gallon of yogurt/kefir, or ~16 ounces (1 lbs) of soft cheese.
I can't eat that much. Can I get less than a share?
Yes! If you can't drink the estimated gallon of milk or eat a pound of cheese every week, we offer half shares and quarter shares.
How do you handle the milk?
We take cleanliness very seriously. All of our equipment and anything that touches the milk is thoroughly cleaned with dairy utensil cleaner and acid wash and sanitized. We carefully clean teats before milking and all milk is filtered to remove any 'stuff' that may sneak into the milk system. During full production, we utilize an automatic milking system that remains closed to reduce contamination. All milk is low temperature pasteurized using a tabletop system. Note that this is not the same thing as the industrial pasteurization systems, known as ultra-pasteurization, that take milk up to very high temperatures and pressures and basically cook the milk, killing everything, and destroying all the things that make goat milk great. Tabletop systems are designed to heat shock the milk (this is what pasteurization really means) and thus reduce the population of possibly harmful bacteria and extend the life of the milk for a week or two (not indefinitely like the stuff in the stores.) The true test of whether the milk has real nutritive value is what we call 'the culture test'. Can you make cheese from it? The answer is absolutely, and it is delicious!
Ready to review the contact? Email us: homestead@AmaltheaRidge.com