Wednesday, January 7, 2015

High Mountain Meadows Farm and Creamery

Way up on Double Knob Drive in Tusquittee, you'll find the goat farm.  It's like the Swiss Alps on the mountain.  Donna Gains owns and operates the High Mountain Meadows Farm and Creamery in Hayesville, North Carolina.  Her farm includes dairy goats, cheese, meat goats, rabbits, chickens, and eggs.  It's an adventure touring this goat farm.

Donna Gains keeps her creamery spotless clean to minimize contaminants while culturing and fermenting cheeses.  She's making goat cheese from an Italian Alps recipe today.  "You must love it," she says, "because it's a long process in here."
She spends about four hours in the creamery at a time and listens to books on tapes to pass the time.

This pasteurizer kills harmful bacteria in the goat's milk. It holds five gallons and cost $5,000!  Fortunately, she applied for a grant that helped to pay for it.

Donna holds some goat cheese.  She makes hard cheeses like cheddar and gouda in her creamery.  She also produces soft cheeses including mozzarella and chevre. Other popular goat cheeses are feta, blue, and riccota Goat's cheese is very popular now.

After pasteurization, you let the goat's milk cool, then make the cheese.  You add bacteria to create taste and aromatic qualities.  It must sit and culture 40 minutes. Then add calcium and rennet, a substance from the lining of the stomach of calves, to curd.  Making cheese is lengthy and you use chemistry in the process.

Donna pets one of her babies. She owns 20 goats and they graze in green pastures above the barn.  A retired operating room nurse, she enjoys the quiet life on the mountain farm.

The black and tan goats are French Alpines and produce milk.  The milking station is located at the barn.

Goats are curious animals.  They checked me out when I visited the farm.

Here are some milk goats and the white animals produce meat.

Goats thrive in rocky and mountainous areas.  Goat's milk is easier to digest than cow's milk.  It is an important source of milk for many babies, elderly people, and folks with stomach ailments.
Notice here that Donna uses an electric fence to keep the animals from getting out of the pasture.

This billy goat wonders who is that lady taking his photo.

Here's another billy goat posing for the camera.

 This billy goat sits on his house and watches the visitors at the farm.

Donna Gains uses rotational grazing on her farm.  Goats eat a wide variety of plants and use their small mouths and flexible lips to grasp, and pick leaves.  Goats can cover a wide area searching for food.

 It was an adventure touring the goat farm.
For more information about the High Mountain Meadows Farm and Creamery, go to:  www.southernappalachianfamilyfarms.com.  

17 comments:

Cranberry Morning said...

What a fun place to visit and what a great business for Donna! I can imagine that it's a ton of work, but also so rewarding. I have made yogurt, mozzarella cheese, and feta cheese. Feta is the one I make regularly, but would love to branch out to hard cheeses. Love this post!

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Thank you very much for your comment, Cranberry Morning. You are such a talented person. I'm glad to learn that you've also made mozzarella cheese and feta cheese. I just keep learning more about how talented you are.

magnoliasntea said...

Oh Brenda, that must have been a fun visit. I really enjoyed this post. We kept dairy goats at one time and made chevre, mozerella and feta cheeses and goat milk soap. Those cheeses were so good. That all began as our daughter's 4H project from middle school through high school, and we sold the goats when she got married.

Muddling Through said...

Brenda Kay, you do take us to the most interesting places! Thank you for this tour today. It was good to be out visiting the dairy goats.

TexWisGirl said...

she love her life, i bet! every bit of work is a labor of love. :)

Susie Swanson said...

I love this post. It's so interesting to read how much goes into making goat cheese. I never knew about this place but will put it on my list of places to visit. Thank you so much.

Daisy said...

Brenda, this is such an interesting post. There are a lot of steps to make cheese! Very nice photos. I enjoyed hearing about your tour.

janet smart said...

I love goats. I think they are very interesting animals. It looks like a lot of hard work making the cheese, but worth the final product. Thanks for the fun tour.

NCmountainwoman said...

Fascinating post. I'll have to visit some day. We are quite fond of goat cheeses around here.

Cranberry Morning said...

BTW, I love that header!!

magnoliasntea said...

Hi Brenda, I'm back to see the goats again and noticed my comment from the other day isn't showing up. I wonder if it went to your spam folder?

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Sorry I was slow about posting some of the comments. They went into my spam folder and I didn't get them posted quickly.

I appreciate very much everyone who comments and I enjoy visiting your blogs very much.

Wishing all my blogger friends a very Happy New Year!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

How very interesting. And such a fun, fun post you've shared.

Eggs In My Pocket said...

What a wonderful place to tour! I have always admired those who make such great things from their animals and farms!

Glenda Beall said...

Brenda Kay, I love this post about the goats. I think goats are such fun and cute. I'd hate to have to sell them for meat, but I love the cheese. I will have to go visit this goat farm which is very near where I live.
The pictures are precious.

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KathyB. said...

I have made cheese from milk goats I had many years ago. It is hard work and yes, you must love what you're doing to devote your life to producing delicious goat cheese. Wish she was close to where I live, I'd buy her chesses !

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