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Cheese maker to speak at goat association meeting

 

Dave Artigues, owner of Elodie Farms in Rougemont, North Carolina and well-known maker of farmstead goat cheeses, will be the guest speaker Thursday at the Southern Virginia Meat Goat Association (SVMGA) meeting. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Halifax County Agricultural Center, Farm Way Lane, Route 360.

Artigues’ farm is home to meat goats as well as dairy goats.

 

“Our meat goats are mostly full-blooded Boers with a couple of Boer/dairy mixes used for breeding stock,” he said.  “Today we raise both meat and dairy goats on the 21 acres of the farm and five acres next door.”

“Unlike some dairies that raise and milk only one breed of dairy goat,” he said, “our dairy uses a mix of breeds, predominantly, LaManchas and Alpines, with a few each of Saanens, Oberhasli, Toggenburgs and a big, beautiful Nubian named ‘Wheezy’.”

Artigues started the goat dairy in 2002, converting a tobacco barn into a milking parlor. Today, he sells Elodie Farms cheeses at the Durham Farmers Market and at many restaurants in the Durham/Raleigh area.

According to his website, www.elodiefarms.com, Artigues’ mature dairy goat females can weigh up to 150 pounds and produce a gallon to two gallons of milk per day.

“Each breed has its own standard for size, coloring and composition of milk regarding milk solids and butterfat content,” said Artigues.

“Like everything on a farm, when we can start to milk and when we need to stop is seasonal,” he added. “The does go into ‘heat’ in late August to early September, and if they don’t get pregnant then, they will go into a second heat a few weeks later. Once most of the goats are pregnant, we begin to see a decrease in milk production. By early to mid-December, we call it a year and give everyone a couple months of ‘maternity leave’.”

During the SVMGA meeting, Artigues will discuss how he has successfully expanded his goat business into a larger farm operation that includes tours, summer camps, cheese-making classes, business retreats and “Porch Suppers” featuring chefs from the Raleigh/Durham area. The farmhouse and grounds also can be reserved for weddings and receptions, reunions, picnics and other functions.

 

SVMGA meetings are open to the public, and all interested persons are invited to attend.

For more information, go to www.svmga.com.