Mmbahhhh – Goat herding sure beats the corporate cats

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Goat herding sure beats the corporate cats

Goat herding sure beats the corporate cats

The best PR is based on relationships.  Locally sourced produce, meats and cheeses depend heavily on relationships and word of mouth (complimentary of course) as well.

The other day, some friends and I road tripped to Charlottesville, Virginia, to check out the wine and food scene.  Barboursville Winery is worth the trip — verdant vistas and quaff-worthy vino.  The wine tasting, lunch and produce shopping took up most of the day.

Our main objective, however, was to visit a goat farm. We decided to cold called Gail Hobbs Page, a former chef turned fromage maker.  Not only does she make a delicious selection of goat cheese, she raises and milks the goats. Now that’s a 24×7 job.

Gail was in the kitchen making cheese when I called.  “We don’t have a store on the farm, but you can come up and visit the goats if you’d like.”  She seemed completely at ease inviting strangers to her home.

About an hour later, we were higher in elevation and further from civilization as we city slickers know it.  The scenery was breathtaking, and the air so fresh it might have added a year to our life expectancies.

We were greeted by Bear, a Great Pyrenees dog who proudly works the farm, and a mass of goats.  Gail emerged a few moments later to give us an impromptu tour and a quick education in breeding. The males were in heat and you could smell it. Simpca and the other does were thankfully in a separate location for the time being.  (Gail has names for all of her 50+ herd.)

After about 45 minutes, we had to allow Gail to return to her work and tend to the 6 pm milking. I could have stayed far longer. Luckily, I purchased some Farmstead Fresh goat cheese from the Greenwood Gourmet Grocery earlier in the afternoon.  When I arrived home, I quickly opened a bottle of red, grabbed some crackers and enjoyed the creamy, lemony delight with my husband under the stars on my patio on cool summer’s eve.

Check out the “where to buy” section on her Web site: It’s a local food relationship worth the investment.

You can read more about Caromont and Charlottesville area farms in the July Southern Living magazine.

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