29 September 2009

I'm about as excited as a girl can be right now. Well, that would be a girl who is an aspiring goat farmer. Yes, after the chicken coop goes up this fall the next task will be moving in some goats. After scouring the shelves of Barnes and Noble on Saturday I found what appears to be a great book on cheese making > Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll. I'll let you know as I work my way through the techniques and recipes. It's a book for anyone wanting to make cheese from cows, goats, sheep or buffalo. Buffalo milk is high on my list now of milks to incorporate into my cheeses. The best mozzarella in the world comes from buffalo milk.

I've gotten off track from explaining why I'm so excited. I've just registered us for 2 upcoming classes on everything a goat farmer should ever need to know including how to make cheese. A farm here in the western Carolina mountains is offering the courses. Apparently its something they do every fall. I admire their undertaking and that they offer to share their skills because they care so much about the animals and industry. There's nothing better than learning hands-on from those who are in the trenches daily. Not being raised on a farm, near a dairy farm, or even with a pair of overalls I have a way to go in being broken in as a farm hand. Those of you who know me can leave your comments to yourself and off the blog. I've long been interested in cheese making and intrigued by all of the different varieties and possibilities. I've been fortunate to have a position at Grandfather Golf and Country Club this summer working alongside executive chef Tom Jankovich who has a curiosity toward finding prodigious tasting and often unconventional cheeses. That man can find some truly cool cheese. Being exposed to such unconventional varieties has motivated my interest.

I'll post photos and updates as I start on my goat farming journey. If you also have an interest you may find the following links useful:
1. The New England Small Farms Institute’s Growing New Farmers Program helps to answer the question: ‘Do I need a Business Plan for my Farm?’ by providing advice through a number of free publication resources related to this question at: http://growingnewfarmers.org/main/for_new_farmers/new_farmer_q_and_a/business_plan_for_my_farm/
2. Free Business Planning from the University of Minnesota. “AgPlan,” designed specifically for farms and ag businesses, provides guidance in writing your business plan, offers the option of collaborating with one or more advisors, and allows you to save your planning work online (or print it out). Online software at http://agplan.umn.edu/
3. North Carolina State University has an Organic Farm Business Planning Page which features a number of publications and links related to financial planning for organic farmers. Some are specific to North Carolina, but many or not.

And simply visit your local Ag office like I did. Ours was a great resource and I met folks who are willing to help us along the way.

1 comment:

Junglefrog said...

How exciting! I wish I had space to keep goats. I once had the pleasure of spending a day at a goatfarm that also made it's own cheeses in various varieties. It was a photo assignment, so I just tagged along with the farmer as they went about their business. Very interesting it was! I can't wait to see how you'll be doing with this.