Bruce and Rachel moved to Orange, MA in 1981, one daughter in a backpack and their second on-the-way. They established a homestead with gardens and livestock to feed their family and the others, who came and went, in various communal arrangements. Bruce re-established his business, Kallisti Percussion, building marimbas and drums; Rachel pursued the ridiculous and the sublime as a research fellow in structural biology at UMass, Amherst. When the offspring sprung off, they took up traveling to participate in breeding bird studies and generally enjoy bird observation in all the wonderful habitats North America has to offer.
Much to their surprise and delight, their children decided to raise their children in/on/near the homestead; a refocus on a life with "Terroir" ensued. Bruce transformed his lust for farm equipment into a creative business restoring and maintaining agricultural pastures, fields and orchards that had fallen into overgrown and invasive-plant infested disarray. Rachel transformed her lust for cheese and lacto-fermentation into a small herd of dairy goats and a large collection of cheesemaking books and utensils. Once the daily acts of love, turning milk into yogurt, kefr and cheese for neighbors and family, started taking up 4 then 6 then 8 and more hours, they thought maybe it was worth becoming a licensed operation and offering the caprine abundance to a wider world.
They built their pastures, buildings, and processing plant from the ground up with their own four hands (and lots of family and neighborhood assists!). MDAR and USDA grants assisted with getting the entire operation solar-powered, AND all that cheesemaking whey got Bruce hooked on raising the absolute tastiest heritage breed pork, poultry, and eggs. We love seeing the radiant health of the pastures, flocks, and herds flourish, and provide nutrient dense and delicious food for our family, friends, and ever growing community of customers.
Our herd is comprised of La Mancha dairy goats, known for their mild mannered, sweet temperaments. Their milk is sweet and moderately creamy, making it perfect for drinking, culturing, and cheesemaking. They are also known for their ears - or lack thereof! They do not have upright earflaps like Saanens or Alpines, or droopy ones like Nubians. Their ears are more like humans - just a circle of cartilage. There's an interesting explanation for the distinctive ears that also relates to their hardiness.
The Spanish missionaries that landed on the west coast of the US in the 1500's brought goats with them on their ocean voyages to provide milk and meat. These short-eared goats occasionally showed an "earless" mutation that the missionaries disliked, and so these goats were set loose in the Sierras. Over the next few hundred years, the earless mutation became dominant, and the goats grew hardy adapting to the local climate.
In the early 1900's, other European immigrants brought Swiss and French Alpine goats with them to California that proved to not be very hardy in that climate. Breeders soon noticed the herds of "feral" goats and thought wisely to breed the more fragile European dairy goats with these nativized Spanish goats, and that is how the "American La Mancha" breed began.
Little White Goat Dairy is at the Amherst Farmers' Market weekly - Our fresh products;
MILK IS SEASONAL - APRIL THROUGH DECEMBER
Every day we milk our herd in the mornings, then chill the milk and bottle it in BPA-free recyclable containers. Sold in quarts and half-gallon jugs. Gallons bottled on request, please call ahead
(ON ALTERNATE DAYS, THE MILK IS USED TO CREATE PROBIOTIC DELICIOUS DAIRY PRODUCTS).
YOGURT - AVAILABLE IN QUARTS AND 6 ounce single-serving containers
KEFIR - AVAILABLE IN QUARTS AND 6 ounce single-serving containers
LABNE - A Middle Eastern tradition - yogurt is salted and strained to a thick creamy consistency, then seasoned with flavorful herbs and spices (rosemary, garlic, oregano, thyme, and hot pepper flakes). It is a great dip for veggies or chips, a spread for crackers or bread, and a wonderful addition to sandwiches
CHEVRE - The traditional fresh goat cheese, eaten with bread, crackers, fruit, jam, or honey - our favorite is on a baguette with olive oil and fresh ground black pepper. We also sell it seasoned with chives, or roasted garlic, or garlic and herbs.
BULGARIAN-STYLE FETA - This feta is creamy and delicate! It is sold packed in brine so it will keep for months.
WE ALSO HAVE A VARIETY OF FRESH MEAT AVAILABLE;
- Chevon for sale, cryo-vac frozen under USDA inspection
- Woodland Pork
- Grassfed Beef
Our dairy is Grade A Certified for raw milk sales by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Our processing plant is licensed by the MA Department of Public Health. Our herd is never medicated unless directed by a veterinarian for diagnosed illness when our holistic herbal-based approaches are not sufficient.
Note: Oliver Scott Photography for Little White Goat Dairy
Bringing you organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, locally-sourced blog posts on a semi-weekly basis from the Amherst Farmers' Market.