A Search for Raw Goat's Milk Finally Comes Up Full
It took a lot of web searching, emails, and phone calls—with a couple of blind alleys thrown in—until at last I found someone in the Boston area who sells raw goat's milk. Some of the listings on the Weston A. Price Foundation’s site turn out to be not in business or not taking on new customers.
Maybe because Boston is so settled, and its agricultural past so distant, but raw milk seems foreign to pretty much anyone I mention it to, foodies and non-foodies alike. The few raw milk sources around seem to be mostly out in the rural western part of the state, a good couple hours from me.
I was after the goat's milk partly because of research suggesting that cow’s milk from late pregnancy may contain more hormones than I should have, and partly because I just wanted to try it. (I definitely haven't sworn off the cow's milk.)
It was still a 55-minute ride from where I live west of Boston to “Ladies Choice Farms” south of Boston, in Kingston, MA. There I met Beth Corbett, the goat milker and breeder (see photo of her top right, and one of her goats).
The good news is that the ride to Kingston is one of the nicer rides around Boston, about half way to Cape Cod, past salt water marshes and scrub trees. I expected something approximating a small farm, but in actuality, Ladies Choice Farms is a small bungalow set in a residential neighborhood of cape and colonial-style homes, which appear to have a half acre to an acre each.
In back of Beth’s home is what appears to be a large garage, but is in fact the goat barn, housing about 15 does, plus a half dozen or so kids, with three bucks out back. When she’s not raising and milking goats, Beth is a truck driver. But she says she usually spends four hours a day tending her goats, which she obviously feels much affection for.
She says that while I may not have met them, there definitely are people in the area interested in raw milk—that dozens search her out the way I did from both the Boston area and Cape Cod, and then traipse to her farm every couple of weeks to pick up their milk. In Massachusetts, it’s legal to sell raw milk directly from the farm.
She introduced me to several of the goats and showed me the hay she feeds them. Last summer was a bad summer for hay, so she had to scrounge around for high-quality stuff.
As for the milk, she says her French Alpine goats produce milk with a higher fat content than most goat’s milk, which she prefers since she likes to make cheese from it. It definitely does taste very similar to the cow's milk I buy--only the slight lingering "bouquet" suggested to me it was goat's milk.
It was a schlep to obtain my milk, but somehow it was a nice schlep. And the entrepreneur in me suspects there’s an interesting business opportunity raising goats and selling the milk in the Boston area.