Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Goat Farm

Things are already beginning to gear up for the busy summer tourist season here in the Lot. My week has been a perfect example of the variety of things to do in my neighborhood. Last Sunday I explored a medieval village full of pilgrims walking the chemin towards Santiago de Compostelle, photographed a beautiful 10th century castle, and took loads of pictures of the most magnificent wisteria. Wednesday was our village WWI commemoration. Last evening I attended a vernissage with friends. Monday I leave by train for Paris! And Thursday evening found me here at Ferme de la Hulotte, a local goat cheese farm.
We arrived in time to see that goats being milked. The herd gathers here in the goat barn and the girls wait their turn in the milking room. It was open house day, and the barn was full of visitors watching the goats and feeding them handfuls of hay. The girls have done this enough that they know the drill...they wander up a ramp into the milking room....

where they line up in stations at eye level with the goat guy. He attaches an automatic milker to their udders. He feels each goat's bag to determine when it's empty, detaches the milking device and the goat wanders down another ramp back into the barn to be with her companions. It takes only a few minutes to milk each goat.









Through a series of plastic piping, the goat milk is delivered here into a large stainless steel vat. It can then be processed into the lovely goat cheese the producer sells every Saturday at my local market. It's very yummy!

This farm is part of an association of produces who are "AB" certified and have banded together to market their special local products. Each producer will hold an open house at their farm this summer where they will all have their goods on sale for visitors. We bought walnut bread, sheep cheese and little pie pans of stuffed snails ready to heat and eat. There were also sausages, crepes, wine, honey, and couscous on offer The "AB" designation that these farms hold means that they adhere to a rigorous set of organic food production standards set by the EU. It stands for Agriculture Biologic, BIO (bee-o) for short. I've already marked my calendar for a visit to the snail farm. Maybe I can learn how to turn my garden pests into dinner there!

2 comments:

  1. Never a dull moment! You have probably visited the goat farm on the Bonnette, le Moulin de Vignasse, where Marie-Ange and her husband make great cheese that she sells in the local markets. I love goat's cheese but it is among the worst for the cholesterol!

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  2. I know about that goat farm, but haven't yet visited. It's on my list, though! Lucky for me, I don't have to worry about cholesterol...bring on the cheese!!

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