Friday, December 28, 2012

Why You Should Own A Dairy Goat with Christine Abbey, Worden Farm, Fla.

Punta Gorda, Fla.--In April 2012, I attended a goat raw-milk Home Dairying and Cheese Workshop at Worden Farm. The presenter Christine Abbey, dairy goat farmer and cheese maker, was passionate about goat ownership. 
Christine Abbey demonstrates how to milk a goat at
Worden Farm's Home Dairying and Cheese making
Workshop, Punta Gorda, Fla. April 2012
There were about fifty interested people at the workshop held both indoors and outside. Abbey started the workshop inside a small shed on the side of the farm.

"I do want to talk about goats. And this is the reason I want all of you to know even those of you who say to yourself that you are not interested in goats. I do want you to consider something but I don’t want to get political so, please take this with the right attitude.

"Although this is a very free country there are a lot of things that aren’t free here. And you really are not free to chose the food that you eat. Because many people believe that raw dairy is better for you than pasteurized dairy but you’re not allowed to buy raw dairy labeled for human consumption.

"I’m allowed to sell my cheeses, and my milk, and my yogurt and my kefir, but the only license they’ll allow me to have because I believe in raw dairy, is a feed license. That requires me to label it for animal consumption only.

"I do have some products available today but I do want you to be aware that they are made from raw-dairy, they are made in my own kitchen, I am not regulated one I-ow-ta, nobody checks my milk, nobody tests my milk, nobody comes and checks my kitchen, OK.

"There are a lot of farms around here that sell milk this way, OK. It does make me nervous because I think some people don’t take care of their product. OK. And I am not going to say one way or the other but I just want you to be aware that there are concerns with …

"I do wish there was a little bit of regulation for us but I do wish there was some way for us to sell raw dairy because the only way they will let me sell this product without that for animal consumption label is if I am a Grade A dairy and I have to pasteurize. That’s the only way…there’s no way in the United States Of America, maybe there are a couple of States now that do allow it.

"I think Pennsylvania allows it but only if I don’t cross state lines which is another weird thing to me, OK.  I’m allowed to buy raw milk if I live here but I am not allowed to buy it if I cross this line. But whatever we do what we…

"So why am I telling you this?

"If you really want good food that you have power over I’m sorry but you have to raise it yourself. So I want to tell you about goats, because I want to tell you I’ve learned a lot about goats in the last six years that I have been raising them. And it really is possible to for anyone to do it.

"And it is my personal goal to spread the word. That just like almost every person in their life at one point had a dog, I honestly genuinely feel that at some point in their life everyone should have a goat. I really do.

"Goats are incredibly smart. Goats can be just like livestock, If you to throw them out in a field…now you still have to care for them obviously. You still have to check on them daily and make sure they have hay, you have to trim their hooves, you got to make sure they’re wormed, all that good stuff. But in general your goats don’t have to be friendly and they don’t have to be smart.

"But I’m the kind of person who likes my animals to be friendly and smart.  And if you have met them you’ll see already. I have a little story to tell you later about Iris cause you will be surprised.

"Did anyone meet? There’s a little bit bigger one who’s a little bit louder, and then there’s a little bit smaller one. And the smaller one is the daughter.  And that’s Iris. So Wildflower is the Mom and Iris is the daughter. I have had those goats for actually only for a year. I got them from a breeder in Tennessee.  Goats are very, very trainable. They can be a beloved pet as beloved as a dog. OK."

To find out more about Christine Abbey, you can go to

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