Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Visit to Catapano's Goat Dairy

 A few days ago, a bunch of us took a little trip to the Catapano Dairy Farm out in Peconic, Long Island.  My mom was proactive enough to call the farm and make a reservation for a group of us to have a tour.  My lazy self just had to show up and enjoy. Unfortunately, I drove around in circles for an extra half hour before arriving, due to the fact that I was just lazy enough to NOT google my own directions (that'll teach ME).

Fortunately, when I finally DID get there, those baby goats were CUTE as anything, and frolicking around like the picture of springtime itself.

Why don't I have pictures of any of those cute little baby goats?  Why, because I was too cranky from getting lost to take any at that point.  Sorry, folks.

So the woman who owns the farm gave us a little talk about the goats and the products they sell.  They actually won an award for one of their cheeses (would that make them big cheeses?) and after telling us a little bit about the farm and the goats, we got to try a few cheeses on crackers.  Yumm...  they were really good, although, not being cheese connoisseurs, I would not have known it was First Place in the Country Good.  But seriously, check out this cute goat beard...

Then some of got to try milking a goat.

There were mostly boys in our group, and they looked somewhere between horrified and really interested in the milking process.  The goat-who-was-ready-to-be-milked was very sweet and tolerant of our ignorance;  she just stuck her head in her feed-pail and turned around every so often to see how it was going.

The brave among us gave it a shot...  don't pull (like a cow?) just squeeze the top of the udder (so the milk doesn't go back up) and roll the fingers downward to get the milk out.  Some people are "naturals," she said.  

Not everyone wanted to try, and since we were a large group we couldn't go on forever - Gwen the Goat would have run out of food in her food bucket before we were done, and the girls could not be overfed.
My favorite part of the tour was seeing the boys all watching from the sidelines...

After the milking, we checked out the herd (Oh, by the way, there are something like 100 females and only 4 males, so if you're a male and you want a good ratio with the ladies, you should be a dairy farm goat).

We also checked out the cheese-making room...

...through the germ-proof window, of course.  I was disappointed we didn't get a close-up tour of this, but when you consider germs, I guess I understand.  I would have at least liked to see people in here, mixing things while swathed in white suits - kind of like an episode Dirty Jobs.  Oh well.

Each of us got a free bar of soap with our tour price, and it does smell rather nice.  They have a cute little store right in the front of the goat pen where they sell cheese, soap and other skin care products.  Check them out sometime.  Just remember - bring your own directions.

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