Ever since I came across a link to the “Surfing Goat Dairy” while researching things to do on our trip, I was smitten. The baby goats (kids) were lined up on a surfboard on the homepage of their website and man were they adorable! Ask Mr.C, he’ll tell you that all he’s been hearing about for the last three weeks is the baby goats. The dairy had a “grand tour” scheduled for Saturday morning, and despite the fact that we didn’t arrive on the island until 10:30 the night before, we were bound & determined to get ourselves to the goats for 9am. And we did.
After a bit of the scenic route through the highcountry of Maui, we arrived (just in the nick of time) at the dairy for the tour. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as the description on the facebook event wasn’t terribly well, descriptive. It wasn’t exactly the glamorized petting zoo I had expected. It was so much more.
Around ten after nine a group of about 20 of us began the grand tour. There were only two children in the group, the rest adults ranging from our age (mid-20’s) to Gigi (80 this year). After a general info session about goats & the dairy, we headed over to the milking table for a demonstration & hands-on milking experience. It was so much fun! By the time I got to milk Shannon (the demo-goat), it seemed that all of her milk was gone (after all, she had already been milked that morning). Once Eva (the owner) was done the demo, she milked-out Shannon the rest of the way. I’ll need to work on my goat milking skills it seems.
Once we were done there (which was when Shannon kicked over the bucket of milk unexpectedly), the owner let the goats out of the holding pen and we herded them (along with a handful of sheepdogs- goatdogs?) out to pasture for the afternoon. We then headed back for a lesson in cheese-making.
Thomas (the other owner) gave us an overly thorough lecture on everything from the type of pasteurizer they use (imported from Austria) and why they pasteurize to the temperatures they do (150.8F/66C). He went thoroughly into the topic of raw milk and enzymes which I was pretty impressed about. Raw milk is illegal in Hawaii, and they get several phone calls a day from people looking for it, so he was well versed on the subject. He told us about their sterilization routine which was impressively thorough. This company makes cheeses for a boatload of the high end hotels & restaurants here in Hawaii as well some in the continental US so they need to have their systems down.
After our q&a session about cheesemaking, we sat down to actually taste the cheese. I had contacted the company ahead of time with regard to my gluten free needs which they were more than happy to accommodate. We tried every item they have for sale with the exception of their cheesecake (which we purchased & took home anyways), and a handful of the higher end products (think goat cheese with gold flakes and chevre with black truffle!). We ended up spending nearly $80 on cheese on our way out! But realistically, some of that was chocolate, some was birthday cake and it was ALL good!
I can’t say enough about this tour that we went on, and I would absolutely recommend to anyone who is able to consume goat’s dairy. Even if you’ve never had it, or are weary- try it, you’ll love it.