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LICENSED GRADE A DAIRY & LOCALLY PRODUCED ARTISAN CHEESE
KAW VALLEY SENIOR MONTHLY SENIOR PROFILE October 2010 • page 3, Vol. 10, No. 4
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Kaw Valley SeniorMonthly
Editor and Publisher Kevin L. Groenhagen
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Goddards offer variety of goat milk products
By Kevin Groenhagen
It all started in 1979, when Noah and Sue Goddard bought their first crossbred goat. “I just decided that I wanted a source of milk where I knew what the animal had been fed,” Sue said. “Noah thought I was a little wacky when I suggested we get a goat. We were raising horses at the time, so we had all these horses and one goat.”
The Goddards acquired a few more does over the following decade,
and bred them with a neighbor’s Nubian buck. In 1989, they decided to start with purebred Nubians. There are six primary breeds of
goats. In addition to Nubians, the breeds include Alpines, Saanens,
Toggenburgs, La Mancha, and Oberhasli. According to the American
Dairy Goat Association, “The Nubian goat should be a relatively large,
proud, and graceful dairy goat of mixed Asian, African, and European
origin, known for high quality, high butterfat, milk production.” With its elongated and floppy ears, the Nubian is occasionally nicknamed the “Lop-Eared Goat.”
In 1986, the Goddards bought 15 acres of land in rural Lecompton
that would become Goddard Farm. “There wasn’t any fence,” Noah
said. “It was all covered with trees and brush. We worked on clearing
the land and building a fence for about two years. We moved into a
house here in 1988.” Over the next two decades, the farm continued to grow. Last year, the Goddards constructed a new 36’ x 24’ dairy barn and cheese room. The barn includes a dairy parlor where the Goddards currently milk 13 does every 12 hours. In accordance
with Dairy Division regulations, solid doors separate the parlor from the cheese and milk processing room. Because good hygiene and
sanitation are essential in dairy processing, this room, which includes a pasteurizer, a chiller tank, a cheese vat, a three-part stainless steel sink, a stainless steel work table, and a chart recorder, is off limits to customers, visitors, and other non-employees.
The Goddards also ensure that their goats are healthy. “Something we do that isn’t really required is we drawn blood from the animals every year to test for tuberculosis, brucellosis, and the CAE virus, which is a goat-related disease,”
Sue said. “All that testing gives us a state certification, which is another level of confidence in our product.” “The inspectors take samples from every batch that goes through the pasteurizer,” Noah added. “Each batch is checked for six types of antibiotics. If any of those antibiotics are present, we can’t use the milk. Sue takes samples from every batch to Forbes Field in Topeka to be tested. We have 60 hours to do that, so that’s an average of about two trips a week.” In addition, an inspector makes regular, unannounced visits to the farm to inspect products on-site.
Under the roof of a 60’ x 30’ doe loafing barn, Noah pointed to bales of alfalfa. “This is why our goats produce a large amount of milk,” he said. “They average a gallon apiece at the peak of lactation,” Sue added. In fact, two of the Goddards’ does ranked amongst the top 10 milk producers in the Nubian breed in the nation last year.
So what is done with all that milk? First, the Goddards sell both rawmilk and Grade A milk. Raw milk is unpasteurized, while Grade A milk is regulated under federal milk marketing orders. “We can sell raw milk here as long as it is clearly marked ‘raw ungraded milk,’” Noah explained. “We can also sell Grade A milk here as long as it is clearly labeled ‘Grade A pasteurized.’ You can’t have people coming here expecting one and getting the other.”
It is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption in 22 states. “Those states will prosecute you if you sell raw milk,” Noah said. “Here in Kansas, we are very fortunate that the consumer can make his own choices.” The milk is available in quart and half-gallon single-use, food grade containers. It used to be available in gallon containers until Noah witnessed an elderly customer struggle with one at the farm. “I helped her get it in her car,” he said. “But how would she get it out when she got home? Also, I could drink a quart of milk at a sitting. However, with some senior citizens a quart would last a week.” Sue also processes the milk into Grade A yogurt and cheese. “I primarily do two types of soft cheeses that don’t require any aging,”she said. “One is chevre, which is like cream cheese but with a little more texture. And then I also make feta cheese.” Like the milk, customers can buy the yogurt and cheeses at the farm. In addition, all of the Grade A products are available at the Community Mercantile (also known as the Merc) in Lawrence. All of the Grade A products but the yogurt are available at the Hy-Vee store on 6th street in Lawrence. “The Merc is doing a nice job with the cheese they are selling in bulk,” Sue said. “People can buy whatever quantity they want. That helps me because I get to walk in there with bulk containers.”
How does goat’s milk compare to cow’s milk? According to the American Dairy Goat Products Association, “Long considered an alternative for those with cow milk sensitivities, goat milk’s fine texture and digestibility are due to smaller, naturally homogenized fats. Goat milk also has higher percentages of short- and medium-chain fatty acids than cow’s milk and is lower in cholesterol and higher in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and B.”
“I’m not going to make any medical claims,” Noah said, “but I believe seniors could really benefit from goat’s milk, whether they used it as a beverage or for cooking.” While the Goddards believe goat’s milk is better for them than cow’s milk, they occasionally drink the latter.
“We try not to,” Sue said. “Goats are seasonal breeders, so it’s a challenge to have the product year round. We usually have a down time Christmas through the first of April when the does are freshening.” Freshening (coming into milk production) occurs at kidding. Kidding is the act of a pregnant doe giving birth.
Sue was in food service for about 10 years before becoming a supervisor with Hallmark Cards. She spent many of her 26 years there in quality control. “Through my experience at Hallmark, I’m really familiar with the concept of continuous [quality] improvement,” Sue said. “You’re always taking the next step to make things better.”
Noah was involved with the criminal justice system for more than 40 years, starting as a rookie police officer in Kansas City. He eventually taught criminal justice at Washburn University in Topeka and worked as a consultant. The couple has three daughters and four grandchildren. For more information about Goddard Farm, which is located at 1801 E. 335th Rd. in Lecompton, please call (785) 887-6083 or visit the Goddards’ Web site at www.goddardfarm.com. The Website includes, among other items, numerous photos of the farm and the goats, nutritional information, and the farm’s licenses.
GODDARD FARM GRADE A GOAT DAIRY AND ARTISAN CHEESE PLANT, LLC
Kansas State Dairy Manufacturing Lcense # 413
PUREBRED NUBIAN DAIRY GOATS
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