Monday 22 April 2013

A new goat cheese...... "Kilchoan Crofter"

With a goat producing just under 3 litres of milk a day even three families can't drink enough so there's a surplus for processing. This week we made the first kilogram of , "Kilchoan Crofter"  brand.

It was an exercise in learning by doing and making mistakes. I didn't incubate the starter for long enough and then added too little, 1.5ml instead of 15ml per lire of milk. I miss read the instructions. The milk wasn't acid enough for the rennet to work so we had to bung in some lemon juice. That worked, it curdled immediately.

No specialised equipment was needed apart from an old dairy thermometer calibrated in Fahrenheit and an ancient tongue press. The result has been about 1kg of cheese from 10kg of milk. After pressing the cheese will have to sit on a shelf in Dale's utility room with regular turning and wiping for up to three months.

Kilchoan Crofter is unlikely to appear in the shops because the cost of meeting all the regulations for milking, processing and sales would be in excess of £50k so we'll just have to eat it ourselves,and I really have made an appointment with Specsavers.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

17th April - International Day of Peasant Struggle

Cool poster
Just thought you might like to know that tomorrow, Wednesday 17th April is the "International Peasant's Struggle " day, world wide and that the Scottish Crofting Federation is a member of Via Campesina, the international peasant organisation.

Why?.... well 70 percent of the global population is fed by peasant farmers and in many countries they are having their land grabbed by governments and business corporations.

One of the aims is to reclaim the food system that has been occupied by trans national capital.....the same people who brought you the "pony burger".

Have a look at the website

Sunday 14 April 2013

Goats beat cows

It's 26 days since Pia kidded and she's producing 2.5 kg milk a day; enough for three families with some left over for cheese making.

Goats reach their peak yield about 6 to 8 weeks after kidding so she could be doing over 3 kg a day by then. A very rough estimate of her lactation yield (300 days) is about 800 kg. That's a lot of milk for an animal that only weighs 70kg. If you compare this estimated yield with that of a Holstein / Friesian heifer weighing 550 kg and producing 5,000 kg in her first lactation the goat is 20% more efficient weight for weight. But then as someone famously said, "there are lies....., damn lies and... statistics".

I should add; goats milk is creamy and  delicious. There's no "goaty" flavour and we are all enjoying it.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Early lambs

Our tup, a Charollais x Texel goes in with the ewes on 15th November, this means we can expect the first lamb 145 days later (10 days forward and 5 days back) the 10th April. So big surprise yesterday (2nd April) when I fed the ewes in the morning, one was missing. I found her a few minutes later sheltering behind a wall with two lambs.

How did that happen? ......More than a week early. 
Well Alistair looked in his diary and on 11th November he found Nan's tup in with our ewes. He turned it back into its home field but by then he'd obviously been at work.

The day was dry and sunny and Nan 's tup is a very good Texel so no complaints, two good lambs doing well in the sunshine.