In northern Alabama, nestled away in the Tennessee River Valley, you will find an organic, grass-to-table goat dairy & creamery.
Welcome to Humble Heart Farms. This post will explore a day spent on the farm learning about the process of managing a working goat farm. I gathered tips, recipes, and advice from the family who runs the farm and other farmers. I learned so much about goat cheese!
Goat cheese from Humble Heart Farms is a creamy, fresh and spreadable fromage. No hormones, chemicals, and herbicides are used in the processes at the dairy. The goats are nourished on grass, grains, and hay. Goat cheese can be used in place of any other cheese, in salads, on burgers, pizza, toppings for bread & crackers, and toppings for a baked potato or vegetables. It's a healthy alternative to many other types of cheese as it is easier to digest and lower in fat. Fresh cheese from the farm is creamy and delicious. We also tried a goat cheese salsa, pumpkin goat cheese soup, potato soup, and goat cheesecake!
Goat Farm DairyHere is one of the goats basking in the glorious outdoors on the farm grounds. The goats have plenty of room to roam out here in North Alabama.
Humble Heart Farms offers flavored cheese and an original flavored creamy cheese blended with a pinch of salt. Here are some of the flavors available:
- French - Rosemary, Garlic, Thyme, and Lavender
- Honey - A blended cheese using local honey
- Rio Grande - Garlic, Onion, Tomato and a a jalapeno pepper kick
- Garden Herb - Onion, Celery, touch of Carrot
- Tuscan - Sun dried tomatoes, Basil and Garlic
- Mediterranean - Olive Oil, Sweet Pepper, Oregano, Onion, and Garlic
- Raspberry Chipotle - Sweet and smokey
Humble Heart Organic Chevre FarmWalking the fields were the goats graze.
Any farmer will tell you, farming is alot of work and commitment. The goats have to be milked twice a day about 12 hours apart (7am and 7pm for example.) The milk is then refrigerated, moved to the cheese-making room, pasteurized at high temperatures for 30 minutes, and tied up in cheese cloth bags to separate the curds and whey. The cheese is then mixed with herbs and spices for added flavor. Humble Heart uses the whey to replenish the fields where the goats graze with nutrients.
Yet, your benefits to living on a farm are bountiful. Fresh food, more peace of mind, less stress and more exposure to the sun, wind, and fresh air. If you are interested in setting up your own farm, I collected some tips from the farmers I met to share with you.
TIPS for your starting up your GOAT FARM
- Setting GOALS. Decide what you end product you are trying to produce from your goat farm, be it milk, cheese, vegetables... You could also focus on making goats milk lotions and soaps, if you are interested in beauty products. If you're going to sell the cheese, think about where you can do that - local restaurants can buy cheese, or you could set up a stand in the farmers' markets. Some cheese makers will open a tasting room and pair the cheese with local wines. You could also give tours of your farm.
- MONEY. Make a plan for your financials and research the costs involved. Consider your start-up costs, cost to buy your herd, cost for structures and machines, licenses, and food for the animals. Do research about the USDA certifications if you want to sell the milk and cheese. You may need to have specific types of machinery to become certified. There will be inspection fees and licensing fees.
- The TYPE of GOATS. Humble Heart Farms goats are Saanen goats, which are mellow and adaptable, with high milk production rates. If you donate to Heifer International Charity, these are the same type of breed that Heifer will send to a village to help eradicate hunger and provide food for families, due to their ease of management and nice temperaments. Here are a few other breeds to be considered for your dairy goat herd: LaMancha, Nubian, and Alpine, among others. Research the types of goats that will work best for your farm.
- Simplify. For me personally, the most appealing part of running a farm is the serenity. To be outdoors and working hard, exhausted at the end of a productive day, breathing in fresh air - this is the draw for me. To be away from the noise, lights and hustle of the city life. Think about the lifestyle that you want to build and make it happen.
Saanen Goats on Humble Heart FarmsThe goats are happy and free the roam the grounds and graze on fresh grass.
Humble Heart FarmsThe goats are healthy and happy soaking up the sun. The buck has to be separated from the "girls" at times.
I hope this post was encouraging and informative for those of you interested in goat farming. Please share your personal stories and advice that can help add to the conversation. Thank you for visiting! Laura
Sleep HeadThis goat takes a little nap after filling it's belly with hay.
The herdThe goats graze in harmony in the tranquil setting of Humble Heart Farms.