Happy May! I absolutely love May! It is my favorite month of the year. Everything is coming to life, babies are abundant, lilacs are blooming, weather is mild and sunny, days are getting longer and my energy level just soars. By June, I am tired, but May?…it is my favorite month of the year!
Things have really been rollin’ here at the farm for us. All of the ewes have finished lambing. They were slackers this year and we fell short of our 200% lamb crop, but it doesn’t even matter. Something about the lambs just makes spring
complete! They are frolicking and racing around the pastures and growing like crazy, right before our very eyes! They do that. Grown before you know it.
Seventeen of our twenty-two does are milking and they are doing a VERY good job. We purchased ‘Betty’ the baby bulk tank just in the nick of time, as we would be swimming in milk totes without that wonderful piece of equipment. That little tank has made all the difference in the simplicity of milking time. We are on the front-end of starting to kid with our Nubian babies. I always am a bit on-edge when we get to kidding season in general, but these kiddings in particular. You see, we choose only our best, most productive and favorite does to proliferate our replacement animals, so not only are we hopeful for doe kids, but anxious that the kiddings go smoothly without complications so our lovelies remain healthy. We have 5 does that are supposed to kid, so we’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.
We want to thank everyone that took the time to respond to our survey. It was very helpful and very interesting to hear what our current and prospective customers want and value from our farm. Making a small farm like ours work takes a good deal of effort and knowing what our market is helps us to be diverse enough to be sustainable. We had a number of people that commented about why we were inquiring if low-temperature pasteurized milk would be something they would purchase. We want to assure our customers that this was not motivated by any issue from OUR raw milk, but in light of recent raw milk concerns in our area again, the risk is real. We also recognize that there is an entire market segment that would prefer to have our milk because it is GOAT milk but are uncomfortable with raw milk. For that reason, (and the fact that we have more milk than we have ever had before) we are in the process of completing our licensing for Grade ‘A’ pasteurized milk in addition to maintaining our raw milk licensing. This will allow us to market some of our milk to local stores without the same level of concern and liability that we have endured with the raw milk. So, rest assured, we have not had problem with our raw milk, it was simply market research!
I suspect if you have read this far, you are wondering when I am going to get to the ‘big announcement’. Well, as you know, Shaun and I have been long time promoters of goats and all they can do. Although we have a ‘raw milk dairy’ our primary belief system is that it is GOAT milk and goat products that are healthy and we are constantly amazed at how efficient and versatile these beautiful animals are. Years ago, when Ashley and Amber were 4-Her’s, they created little ‘stepping stones’ that they put on the floor of the fair barn to try to educate fair-go-ers about everything you could get from goats. They had one for milk, meat, cheese, fiber, brush control, companionship and one of my favorites was a picture of this lopsided melting ice cream cone. We have always enjoyed making our own goat milk ice cream and we have shared that with visitors to the farm, but now, after (literally) YEARS of Shaun’s begging, months of planning, working with our WSDA inspectors, perfecting our recipe and practicing our production, we are proud to announce, Conway Family Farms will be featuring delicious, light, healthy, egg-free goat milk gelato style ice cream! This ice cream is HANDMADE with milk only from our goats. Our three beginning feature flavors are Vanilla Dream, Lavender, and Blueberry (of course, the blueberries and lavender are from our farm as well). Our plan is to feature all regional, all seasonal flavors. You will only be able to get flavors when they are in season (i.e. strawberry in June, peach in August etc.) and we will be sourcing our fruit from fellow-farmers in our area. If you want to read the whole ice cream story, you will find it here. In the meantime, we hope you will drop by our farm store and pick up a pint to try. In the near future, we will be featuring handy grab-n-go eat-now size containers, but for now, we are only offering it in pint size, which, ironically in Shaun’s mind, is the grab-n-go, eat-now size!
The road trip to Reno in March was to pick up a little starter batch freezer (harder to find than one would think) and we have been feverishly working on getting everything else in order. We still have some bugs to work out (I don’t like the ice crystals that form on the top of the frozen product…a flash freezer might be in our future), but the taste and texture is simply out of this world! My husband thinks he has died and gone to heaven—what man wouldn’t want his very own ice creamery?
Yup, things have been busy around here, but it is finally all coming together. Now, maybe I can get to the garden!
Until next time, we hope your flowers blooming, the hens are laying abundantly, babies are growing and you are enjoying some of this wonderful May sunshine.
Shaun & Lorrie