Monday, January 7, 2013

Prodigal Farm Workshops: Beginning Cheesemaking & Basic Goat Husbandry

For those of you interested in learning more about basic goat care, goat production and possibly dabbling in cheesemaking, Prodigal Farm of Rougemont, NC is now offering two workshops to share their knowledge: a Basic Cheesemaking Workshop, and a Basic Goat Husbandry Workshop.

The Beginning Cheesemaking Workshop – obviously with a focus on goat milk cheese styles – will be held on Sunday, January 20, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is the Sunday before Martin Luther King day; with the hope that this will fit well into many folks’ long weekend.

While we’ll hold the class in our commercial dairy (and if the class as a whole is interested in spending a part of the time on learning more about that we can review some of the aspects that are distinct to the commercial dairy side), we will be teaching "stovetop" techniques for the home cheesemaker. We’ll have handouts for you to take home, but also bring a notebook. During the class, we’ll make chevre and feta, and maybe one other cheese, depending in timing and interest. We’ll cover foundational topics such as:

• sanitation of utensils & equipment

• Milk composition and sourcing

• Pasteurization

• basic equipment and supplies needs and sourcing

• use of rennets & cultures for beginners, including a discussion of the basic scientific principles at work during cheesemaking

• principles of molding, draining, and aging

• troubleshooting

Basic Goat Husbandry Workshop - will be held on March 30, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The farm is entirely pasture-based. If it’s pouring rain that day, we’ll reschedule for the same day/time the following week. If it is just sprinkling, the show will go on. Bring a lunch – it’s a long day! There will be handouts for you to take home, but also bring a notebook. Topics to be covered include:

• assessing your goatkeeping goals

• preparing for your goat: shelter, fencing, considering other animals

• finding and selecting your goats

• essential and handy equipment and where to find it or how to make it

• nutritional requirements and supplements

• vaccinations, parasite control, and discussion of common health issues

• hoof trimming

• assessing health and illness

• finding a good veterinarian and when to consult

• basic breeding and kidding

• disbudding of horns and castration

• milking
Each workshop is limited to 12 participants; if there is more demand, we will consider scheduling a second workshop.  To register for the workshops, please email; payment is required at that time.  You can also pay via paypal at Cost for each workshop is $110. 

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