The latest news in my household is a bottle of delicious Wairere Goat Creamery milk. Up till now there’s been no goat’s milk for sale in local shops, and I’ve wondered why.
I was delighted to speak with Claude Capon, the man behind this new Waikato business supplying fresh goat’s milk to the local market. The first milk went on sale three weeks ago, and business has been booming. “We’re just barely keeping up with supply,” Claude said.
Traditional goat milk
Goat milk is traditional in many cultures. Many people who are intolerant to cow’s milk can digest goat’s milk without difficulty. Wairere goat milk isn’t homogenized, because the fat molecules don’t separate out, unlike cow’s milk.
If you’ve never tried goat’s milk, it tastes just slightly different from cow’s milk. You can use it in pretty much the same way. The main goat milk drinker in my household, my son Albert, says he actually prefers the flavour of goat milk.
Claude has 25 years’ experience across many aspects of the local dairy industry, including a stint as an organic dairy farmer. He was building goat barns for local dairy goat farmers when he realized that although there is a lot of goat milk being produced in this country, there was none being sold locally as fresh milk. Most is exported and processed into infant formula, and a small amount is made into goat cheese.
Even with all his industry experience, it’s been a long and a complicated business to get fresh goat’s milk onto the local market, Claude told me. It’s taken two years to get it up and running.
Wairere Goat Creamery: Fresh goat milk for the local market. It's about time!
The goats which produce Wairere Goat Creamery milk are from two dairy goat breeds, Sable and Saanen. They live on a free-range farm, where they can choose to be outside in the fields or inside in the “loafing barn”. Currently there are 300 goats, and the plan is to expand to 500 next year. Ultimately there is space on the farm for a herd of 1,000.
And it gets even better – Claude’s longterm plan is for Wairere Goat Creamery to head towards organic certification, which is a four-year process.
Goat milk is a “specialist” product, Claude said. “We’re being careful about who we supply to.”