March Madness…on the Court and in the Barn!

Why is this email arriving on a Tuesday, you might ask? Well, as of yesterday morning, my colleague Ariel and I were up to our ears in kids! No we weren’t taking a day off from the shop to babysit, we were visiting Beltane Farm in Connecticut, where kid goats are running amok in what amounts to the earliest harbinger of spring. What does that mean for you? Besides the fun-filled photos below, it means the tastiest fresh chèvre and goat yogurt in town, waiting for you at Saxelby Cheesemongers!

paul feeds a kid
Paul feeding a newborn Saanen kid. Click on this photo to see more images from Beltane Farm!

Beltane Farm was started in 2002 by Paul Trubey in the tiny town of Lebanon, CT. A lifelong lover of goats, he was urged toward cheesemaking by Liz McAlister from neighboring Cato Corner Farm. He slowly but surely grew his herd, taking the word ‘farmstead’ to the max, milking the goats, making incredible cheese, and selling it at farmers’ markets across the state.

Paul, an ex-social worker, is the consummate farmer, showing each of his animals the utmost in love and respect. Beltane Farm is comprised of a true menagerie of animal personalities, which I’m sure puts the social worker in Paul to work on the daily! First off there are the goats, a herd of about twenty ladies with personalities as distinct as snowflakes. There’s Limerick, the oldest goat in the herd (born on St. Patrick’s Day of course!), Flash, who gave Paul a love tap about as gentle as an NFL linebacker would as we walked through the pen, and Veronica, who was allowed to walk about the farm wherever she pleased. Then there’s everybody else: Nestor and Geronimo, the farm’s two donkeys, Asa and Miss Betsy Bigelow, new arrivals of the bovine variety, a coterie of cats and chickens, and two loyal dogs, Maggie the collie and Duncan, a geriatric Jack Russell terrier who has his own chair at the dinner table.

Two years ago, due to the success of his business, and the need for a workday shorter than 24 hours, Paul partnered with nearby Reynolds Farm to help him raise and milk his troupe of La Mancha, Alpine, and Oberhaasli goats. The Reynolds hadn’t had any animals on their farm since the late 1980’s, when the family’s cow dairy succumbed to the perennial volatility of the commodity milk market. Now the farm, located about eight miles from Beltane, oversees the milk production of close to 100 does. That milk is carted back to Beltane Farm where it is turned into cheese. The milk of the other twenty-odd goats that live at Beltane full-time is bottled and sold directly to customers that come to visit the farm.

So stop on by the shop for the cheesemongers’ version of March Madness… pure, delicious goat goodness from Beltane Farm!

‘Till next week, eat cheese and be merry!

Cutting the Curd, a dairy-centric radio show on Heritage Radio Network

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