This morning my husband and I drove south on 29 to Route 6 and then onto Sharon Road (which the next exit below Schuyler where the Walton Mountain Museum is.) It was like driving back through time, from a divided two lane U.S. Highway, to a paved Virginia road, to a rutted dirt farm road with ditches of varying depths on both sides.
Caromont Farms was having it’s semi-annual open house from 10-4. Price was $10 per person for all the fresh air, goats, and green fields you wanted to inhale. The owner and cheesemaker Gail Hobbs Page, wanted a manageable way for people to come out and enjoy the farm.
You could also have lunch: a grilled cheese (from fresh goat cheese) on panini, accompanied by apple slices and some great pickled squash peppers. Drink was ginger kambucha, lavender iced tea, or sparkling water with ginger syrup. Suggested donation was $10.
Carol, the owner and cheesemaker was also the grill master for the grilled cheese sandwiches
Carol makes insanely good cheese from her goats. Currently they are offering Esmontonian (named after the nearby village one road, no stoplight, and the kind of small town post office of a bygone era), chevre, chabi, and a luscious pimento cheese.
Caprines, or goats, were one of the first domesticated animals. Goats are used for milk, meat, hair and skins. Female goats are called nannies. Male goats are called billies, and young goats of both sexes are called kids. A 1-oz serving of goat cheese has 75 calories and 6 grams of fat, much of it saturated. But that’s less than some other soft cheese. Goat cheese also gives you 5 grams of protein and 40 mg calcium, along with about 3% of your daily iron recommendations. All of that can even give goat an edge over cow milk.
In 2016, they advertised for Goat Snugglers, to keep baby goats warm after they are born in February. Were these volunteers substitute nannies? Would they be the butt of some goat joke?
If the goats get used to being around humans, they are easier to milk. They had people from all over the world asking for information on how become goat cuddlers or snugglers. The response was overwhelming. Senior citizens, girl scouts, vets with PTSD, children, families–all wanted a turn at Goat Cuddling. Caromont wants to do it again next winter but hopefully in a more controlled manner. It’s a small family owned farm and is not set up to handle everyone that wants to be a goat cuddler.
In addition to goats, the farm also has 2 peacocks, a peahen, a big brown sheep with a very deep baa and several friendly dogs.
clockwise: big brown sheep, big uddered goat, peacock, and the farmhouse
Would you be a goat cuddler? Join in the conversation and share your favorite goat story.