FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR LITTLE FARM –
Is Acorn Hill Farm a certified organic dairy?
No. And I sincerely don’t think it will ever happen. Although we make it a point to know the organic standards and guidelines for the type of farming we do, there are too many issues that are problematic. First and foremost is the fact that organic dairy is focused on cows so many guidelines are not appropriate for goats. Cows and goats are two very different species in how they eat and how their metabolism works. Second, we feel there are some very good guidelines for livestock management but there is a lot of room for improvement both in regards to allowed substances and some of the financial burdens associated with certification. Having said that, rest assured that we care for our goats with careful attention to maintaining their health and well being without the use of chemicals, antibiotics or hormone supplements. We primarily use herbal and homeopathic remedies if needed but we will do everything in our power to save a goat that is ill and the simple remedies have not been effective. Our goats are part of our family and we care for them as such.
What happens when your milking goats get old?
Good question! Every goat on the farm except for two (who were given to us by friends) were born here and they all will spend their entire life here. Currently our senior most doe is 12 years old and continues to live with her barn sisters in the main barn. She did not kid this year so she is not contributing to the milk flow but that is fine. I can’t image a milking without Neesa coming into the milking parlor with her sister Gaia. Doesn’t matter that Neesa isn’t milking she has her grain and we check her health and she demands a good neck scratch and we are all happy.
Why is my feta brine yellow?
The brine that our feta is packed in will show various shades of yellow due to the whey that is part of the liquid. Whey is the byproduct of cheese making, the liquid part of the milk, and when the white solids are separated from that liquid it is yellow. You many also notice some cloudiness to the brine which is normal. Cloudiness may been seen more frequently in the fall and winter when the goat milk is very rich.
What are the specks in my cheese?
We use Sicilian sea salt to salt all of the cheeses and it tends to come with some color variation. We prefer sea salt for all of our cheese making.
What about the whey? Isn’t there more than what the feta floats in?
Ah, the whey…. wow, there seems to be an ocean of it some days. For each gallon of milk we turn into cheese there is whey left over. The amount depends on the particular cheese but there is always some. Until someone comes up with a small scale dehydrator for our whey we use it in several ways…. Some whey we use to fertilize acid loving plants which grow here in abundance. Some is offered back to the milking ladies to replenish the minerals that is part of the milk they give. And some is sent to feed the pigs raised by the farmer who cuts our hay.