Through the winding roads of Victorian Valley Drive, the green foliage and trees hang overhead in a great canopy and as you near the Myers Goat Creamery the sounds of Nubian goat kids get louder. They huddle in clusters in little shelters with their long ears flapping in the air.
“They don’t like the wind or the rain,” said Bill Myers, walking out to greet the goats that run toward him, eager to lick his hands and receive a pat on their heads. “And they are really a lot like dogs.”
In April, these goats helped Bill and Jenny Myers’ farm launch a goat dairy on Orcas.
And it’s been three years in the making.
Jenny was inspired by the movie “Girl from Paris,” when a young lady takes on the many challenges of having a goat farm.
“I liked watching all the work that goes into it – I love that part of it, I love the whole process,” she said.
Then she started researching what it would mean to take on such an endeavor. The next step was to visit Black Mesa Ranch in Arizona for a three-day “immersion” on how to care and raise the animals.
Last year the Myers offered unofficial tastings to see if any businesses would be interested. The response was extremely positive.
Myers products are served in dishes at the Inn at Ship Bay, in Rose’s kitchen and store, in the chile rellenos at Chilada’s, and on the shelves of the Orcas Village Store and Orcas Island Home Grown.
With facilities on their property, the Myers create delicacies like feta, chevre, cheddar and gouda. The secret to these fine cheeses?
It’s all in the milk, said Bill: “If the milk isn’t good you don’t have anything.”
And their secret to making rich milk is keeping their 16 kids, six milkers and two male goats well-cared for and clean. The Myers are up at 6:30 a.m. to feed the babies and milk at 7 a.m., and then there is feeding in the afternoon and milking again at night.
“It’s a 24/7 job for us,” Bill said.
Letting the goats graze in the open on alder and maple leaves and cedar bark also adds flavor to the Myers’ dairy products.
“I love this milk, I drink a quart a day,” Jenny said. “It’s creamy and melts in your mouth. It is good in oatmeal, in lattes or if you need a blast of energy.”
She added that goat milk and cheese is easier to digest than cow’s milk.
“And people that eat goat products live 15 years longer than those who don’t,” Bill said.
Because their cheese and milk only travels a few miles to stores and restaurants, it will stay fresher for longer – and the Myers want to keep it that way.
“We don’t really want to expand,” Jenny said. “We want to have our products here. We want to be a small little local farm.”