By Kennedy Hunn ’18
Day 1 (Tuesday, July 10)
Students were introduced to small-scale goat dairy production basics by author and commercial goat dairy consultant Carol Delaney, and with assistance from Aimee Braxmeier, a GMC alum and currently manager of Hildene Farm in Manchester Vermont. The class kicked off their first day with a milk tasting. Students were able to compare tastes and textures of different types of milk and milk-based products, like sheep yogurt vs. goat yogurt. Afterwards students were taught the basics of goat anatomy and the rules and regulations outlined in the PMO (Pasteurized Milk Ordinance). They also learned the importance of maintaining hygiene of the animals and proper handling of Raw or Pasteurized milks. Students are working with our three lactating does, Elm, Clover, and Burdock, at the farm, and we’ll soon have our milking system up and running so that you can buy raw goat milk directly from the farm!
Day 2 (Wednesday, July 11)
Students arrived ready to get into the hands-on part of the class. After reviewing the steps prior to milking, students assembled at the milking stand in the trailer located outside the barn. Elm, our Alpine mix, hopped right up, and was probably less nervous than the students. After milking out all three does students collected and stored samples from each goat’s udders to test the somatic cell count. Carol went above and beyond bringing in her own pasteurizer so we could see the process and the differences between processed milk and raw milk. Farmhouse staff and some members of VSA were able to try this fresh goat milk.
Day 3 (Thursday, July 12):
The last and final piece of the three day intensive was hosted at the Rowland Agricultural Center at Hildene Farm which was established in 2008 at the Hildene estate of Robert (Todd) Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, in Manchester, VT. Hildene’s goat dairy was designed to represent sustainable options for animal agriculture on 10 acres of land. After washing off boots in an iodine solution to prevent germs from our herd spreading to this herd of Nubian goats (18 being milked), students were led inside and met with large glass windows through which visitors can peer into the milk room, the creamery, and the cheese aging cave. With a focus on animal health, rotational pasture grazing, and homeopathic medicines on hand, Hildene proved to be a successful model for small-scale operations open to the public for educational purposes, inspiring our team with some best practices.
Join us at the Farmhouse on the evening of Wednesday, July 18, starting at 6 p.m. to learn how to whip up a seasonal feast from this week’s CSA Share. Carl Diethelm ’17 will share how to make sourdough bread.
Cerridwen Farm is a student-motivated campus farm at Green Mountain College, integrating essential hands-on learning with our liberal arts education. We are committed to our soil health, the wellbeing of our farm animals, the importance of food justice and the needs of future generations, and we demonstrate this commitment in every product we produce and every practice we undertake.