For those who are thinking goats must always be penned, whether in a community, or in a mobile farm grazing paddock, Nancy Coonridge, who began Coon Ridge Organic Goat Cheese Dairy in 1982, runs a herd of 70 free-range dairy goats on 300 acres in New Mexico’s western high desert surrounded by piñon and juniper forests.
“Most dairy goat producers never give browse a chance,” she told the Stockman Grass Farmer. “They just don’t appreciate what a high quality feed it is and how healthy it is to let their animals get exercise.” She says that, because her free-range goats haven’t been fed grain, her free-range goat milk is very high in fat and protein, perfect for a cheese dairy. She doesn’t support grain feeding, the Grass Farmer reports, because grain feeding robs goats of their digestive heat source and upsets the ruminant function. Coonridge herself is a rare breed, as she knows of only one other browse-based goat dairy in northwestern Arkansas.
Coon Ridge Organic Dairy is also unusual for how it delivers its cheese – in a 7.5 oz. glass jar covered with organic oils and herbs, which her website says is the traditional Mediterranean method for sealing out the air and preserving cheese for long periods without refrigeration. She writes on her website, “After you receive our cheese, you can store it in the refrigerator for online casino gratis months and months, even up to a year!”