It was one of those blue sky days with occasional clouds scudding across the sky, the sea twinkling and the wind light and balmy when we had the pleasure of visiting Shaun from Goat Island Dairy. He farms and milks his goats at Purakanui.
Little do the goats know how lucky they are to be living in such a gorgeous place. Though they did seem very happy and affectionate so maybe they are appreciative. Shaun has a herd of about 300 goats and milks 80 – 100 of them on a daily basis. Goats can live on lesser quality land than other livestock plus they leave far less impact on the environment than their bovine counterparts. The girl baby goats are kept for replacing older goats and the boys all get castrated and given to good homes.
Goat’s milk is creamy, A2 , easily digested and non-goat tasting! It really is delicious. Farming goats is never dull. They are curious, entertaining, in your face and these ones all have names!
They are feed silage in the winter and only have fresh rain water. Shaun believes in traditional methods of farming, chemical free with animal welfare very important.
Back in the day small boutique (although they certainly weren’t called that then!) dairies dotted the hills around the peninsula. They milked cows and Cadburys bought up everything, not for town supply, to make chocolate. The dairy at Goat Island is one of those original dairies and has the first herringbone milking unit in the southern hemisphere. 10 goats are milked at a time and between them all produce 120 litres a day.
Shaun has proved to be a dab hand at making goats cheese. From the decadent, creamy delight of his soft, fresh goats’ cheese through to goudas that are currently ageing.