Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 977 : Ayers Brook Goat Dairy

Location:  Randolph, Vermont.

Just at the intersection of Route 12, sits what used to be known as the Hodgdon Farm. For over forty years, Carol and Perry Hodgdon operated a dairy farm in the site now known as Ayers Brook Goat Dairy but to any local, this dairy farm will always be the Hodgdon Farm. In 2001, the Hodgdons' retired from the dairy business but kept their farm functioning on the production and consequent supply of hay and corn for surrounding local farms. Fast-forward to 2012, the Hodgdons' had decided to fully get out of the agriculture business.

So what happened to Hodgdon Farm?
It was sold to Evergreen Conservation Partners, L3C. Working with Evergreen Conservation, Vermont Butter and Cheese is working to develop a model goat dairy and "goat farm incubator," and is now known as Ayers Brook Goat Dairy.  What do I mean by that you might be wondering?

Over the course of the next decade, the goal is to help create a genetically superior herd of goats that will in turn be utilized as an educational outlet for onsite training in goat farming and agricultural practices. The aim is to have an enclave of education, inspiration, growth, and production surrounding goat's milk and goat's milk cheeses to stimulate the next generation of Vermont goat farmers.

I had originally heard of this project when it was just a topic of conversation, it was so exciting to visit Ayers Brook Goat Dairy this weekend. Having spent the good portion of the last six to eight months searching and sourcing the best goats nationwide, Ayers Brook Goat Dairy is now home to over two hundred goats that will hopefully all be impregnated and reproduce and consequently start milking by September. Construction of new buildings are in progress and this awesome idea about continuing the legacy of Vermont goat's milk farming is in the works.

It is so exciting to see how Vermont farmers and creameries are really finding new and innovative ways to expand their businesses and grow with increasing demand! Stay tuned for updates into the world of Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company tomorrow!

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