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Cheesemaker Apprenticeship

We are offering a free, 2 day cheesemaker apprenticeship opportunity here on the farm.  This is for an aspiring cheesemaker between the ages of 18 and 30.   The recipient will work side by side with an experienced and passionate cheesemaker.  You will meet the goats, the milk, the farm, and of course the cheese.

Woman of LaMancha

At Gothberg Farms we love making cheese!  We love sharing what we do!  We love young folks who may aspire to be a cheesemaker.  Of course 2 days won’t make you a cheesemaker, but it will give you a feel for this amazing craft.

Application Criteria:

1.  Must be between the ages of 18 and 30.

2.  Submit an essay on why you may want to be a cheesemaker and what led you to that thought.

3.  Attach a resume or some chronology about your life up to this point.

4.  Applications must be received no later than 5pm February 25, 2011.

There is no fee for this apprenticeship.

Transportation costs are the sole responsibility of the recipient.  Housing may be provided if needed.

We are strictly a no smoking, no drugs, no pets allowed farm.

Submit applications to:

rhonda@gothbergfarms.com

or:  15203 Sunset Road
      Bow WA 98232

Pre-Kidding Preparations

With kidding due to start here in about a month, there are some preparations I consider routine and beneficial.  Over my few years of herdsmanship I have found if I do these few simple things-the does and kids just do better overall.  I include all the goats on the farm at this time-does, dry does, bucks, and any wethers in this routine. I want to stress this is MY routine that has worked well for ME. Consult your own veterinarian for your own herd.  I am NOT a vet.

Vaccines

CDT   Clostridium Types C & D and Tetanus
Each animal gets this. It is to prevent the above diseases. I happen to use the BarVac brand, and with that brand, I give each animal a 2cc injection, regardless of weight.

Pregnant Warner

BoSe    Selenium and Vitamin E
Our soils in the Pacific NW are selenium deficient, so I give selenium injections twice a year.  It is a mixed Selenium/Vitamin E solution.  The Vitamin E is a carrier for Selenium absorption and utilization.

NOTE: Do NOT give this in areas where Selenium is adequate. Check with your vet. This requires a vet prescription to obtain it.

Lack of Selenium tends to contribute to very thick amniotic sacs in my observations.

OK, so far I have drawn up and given 74 shots!!!!  I am a nurse. Yes, I draw up each one with a new sterile needle and syringe.

Deworming
This generally seems like a good time to administer deworming meds if indicated.  The does are dry now and any withhold times can be easily adhered to.  We always far exceed any withhold times here anyway.

If indicated, I will use either Cydectin pour on or Ivermection cattle injectible, but give the dose by mouth.  This means I draw up the required amount of Ivermectin with needle and syringe and then REMOVE the needle and squirt the med into the animals mouth.

The Cydectin pour on should be used only as a pour on.  I know some folks give it orally and this is extremely dangerous.  DO NOT give a pour on by mouth!!!

Check with your vet for dosages and withhold times.

I have tried the herbal dewormers and was not all satisfied with them.

My first and best approach is prevention.  This is accomplished by pasture rotation, clean bedding, and generally overall healthy animals who seldom need deworming.

Goats Enjoying a Sunny New Years Day

Hoof Trimming

Maggi & Eliza

I like to get this done before they are too big to comfortably stand on three feet.  We trim here about every 2 months, year around.  Our farrier, Maggi Holbert, is the BEST!  She works with animals just as naturally and easily as she breathes in and out.

CAE Testing
We have been negative for 5+ years now.  We test annually, just prior to kidding.



Maggi the Farrier


Next Steps
Every pen will get fresh sand added as needed. Walls in the main barn will be scrubbed, cobwebs removed, window sills dusted, etc.  In the kid barn, the walls and floors will be scrubbed and sanitized.  Buckets, feeders, and tubs are scrubbed with soapy water.

Kidding supplies will be rounded up and packed into the barn for easy, retrievable access.  This includes:
clean towels (lots of them), hair dryer, extension cord, Betadine scrub, short and long exam gloves, iodine for navel cords, feed sacks to open for kids to be dried on, an 18 inch double clip tether to secure a doe if need be, flashlight batteries are changed out.

This year I am seriously investigating a barn camera system.  Those cold, late night checks are getting harder by the year!

Anacortes Farmers Market Off-Season

Great news!  Anacortes Farmers Market  will now have a monthly, off season market each month until the full season starts in May 2011. 

Where:  Sharp’s Corner (old Frontier Auto building) INSIDE!!!!!

Dates:  January 15, February 19, March 19, and April 16

Times:  To Be Announced

We will of course be at these markets.  We have been excited about the possibility of making this happen for a long time.  Thanks to all who made it reality-Johanne, Peter, Keri, and Bradley (and others I am sure).

The Farm Store will continue to be Open from 10-2 on these Saturdays.

Mark you calendars, order your cheesecakes, and get your plans in gear to attend!

Feline Foodie Reviews Woman of La Mancha

Woke up this morning to a very pleasant surprise cheese review from our favorite Feline Foodie-Spaulding Gray.  He and his madam are surely appreciated and loved around here!
http://cheesemonger.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/gothberg-farms’-the-woman-of-lamancha/

We have this signature original cheese we produce here called Woman of La Mancha.  It is a favorite of us here on the farm and with our local eaters as well.  It is fun to make, but more fun to enjoy-after about a year of ageing!!  When we developed it, we put it in the ageing room, and proceeded to care for it and wait….and wait….and wait…..Then, once we tried it and loved it ( a year later) we proceeded to  make some more of it….and are waiting…and waiting…..and now we are just beginning to bring some more out on a very limited basis at about 8 months of age.  Mostly we are waiting for the 12+ month time frame to finally arrive.  It is a bit labor intensive to make-more than most, but we feel the results are worth it.  All cheesemaking is labor intensive and an act of art and love and passion.  This cheese is currently available at the farm.  We are open Saturdays from 10 to 2. 

Early Woman of La Mancha (sorry about the blurry pic)

Nan Naw Zell’s Recipes

4 Generations-Traci, Rhonda, NanNaw Zell, and Alice Harris
Taken at Catfish Cabin (Zell’s favorite place to go)

Nan Naw Zell (aka Joe Zell (Harkey) Tullis) was THE most awesome woman I have ever had the pleasure to know.  She has been gone for years now, but rest assured, MANY of us carry her forward every day to the core of who we are.  She was a marvelous home cook.  She also cooked for years at their local cafe (Splendora, TX, pop.<300), and also cooked at the school lunch room.  She cooked for family events most of my life.  I could write an entire book about her attributes, but for today, I am going to share two of my favorite recipes of hers.  Sometime in the early 1970’s, I came home from UT-Austin and asked her to tell me her recipes so I could write them down.  She chuckled her gentle chuckle, with her shiny glint in her big brown eyes and said “Welllll, I don know about that.  I don’t really have a recipe.  I just make things.”  So I said, OK, let’s make them then.  So we did.  I wrote down approximate measures, how much salt she put in the palm of her hand, the shape of the bowl she used for the dumplings, the thickness of the dumplings as we rolled them out.  I never guessed at the time what a treasure this day would be to me.  So, I want to share it with you a little bit here.  I’m sure the cousins will really appreciate having these some day too. Enjoy!

Chicken & Dumplings

This is the size and shape of bowl she used for the dumplings.  I have carried this size and shape around with me for years, because that is what Nan Naw had!  I even saw to it that my daughter has one.

By the way, I “named” her Nan Naw as a baby myself, and it just stuck for eternity.

The tamale pie had a layer of cornmeal on the bottom of a pie plate, then the the meat layer, and was topped with the final layer of the cornmeal.

Tamale Pie-Texas Style

Small Business Saturday

http://smallbusinesssaturday.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday?v=app_165267296827487#!/SmallBusinessSaturday?v=wall

This is one of THE most positive mass fresh ideas I have seen in quite some time.  How awesome would it be if all of us JUST supported our local, small businesses for even one day????  I think the effect would be colossal.  Even if you had not planned to shop this Saturday, but made it a point to go out and support just one small business, it could be huge.

As a small business owner, existing solely to help feed my local community, I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate your support and just how much several of us depend on that continued support.  Without you, I certainly would not be here, and my awesome employees would not have jobs they apparently love and heavily depend upon. The figure I have seen “out there” is that for every dollar you spend locally .68 is returned to the community (compared to .38 when you shop big chains).  I would venture to say it is even higher here, as all of us are extremely locally focused in almost everything we do-food, entertainment, gifts, rent, banking, farmers markets, feed mill, veterinarians, dairy supply, water supply, septic services, sand/gravel, hay, kitchen stores, hardware stores, lumber yards, clothing, wine/cider, etc…..and the list is so much longer than this.

So tomorrow, I will be here working our farm store in the hopes you come by from 10 to 2.  You could make a lovely trip of it, and make it a point to visit even just the fine food choices we have here in Edison(Bow).  Three cheesemakers, artisan bread, and our own European grocery (Slough Food), and 2 other bakeries.  Plus you could also stop for grass fed meats at our own Island Grown Farmers Coop.  Ask me for recommendations! Please!  Ask!!!

Farm Store:
15203 Sunset Road
Bow WA 98232
360-202-2436

Thoughts on Food Choices

As you might imagine, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about food, usually really good food.  I happen to enjoy really good food, I enjoy cooking really good food, and I love being a part of making really good food available to my local eating community.  We live in an area where these foods are readily available on a local level.  I do not consider them “elitist”, but it does maybe take a little more effort and planning to make them the main component of your daily eating.  For instance, you may need to concentrate your shopping to Saturday, if that is the day for your local farmers market.  And you might need to be able to plan your week on the fly, so to speak, depending on what is fresh and available.  But hey, this is the fun part! It gets a little more difficult when the markets start to end, as you may have to seek out the farmers individually, or rely on grocery store food for that part of the year.  Maybe a combination is what usually happens.



Goat Ricotta & Herbs Stuffed Squash Blossoms


I am certainly NOT opposed to doing the bulk (or even all) of your shopping in a grocery store.  You have the most amazing array of fresh foods on the planet in almost every neighborhood.  It is more about making good choices, cooking the food yourself,  staying away from packaged/processed foods, eating out less, and relying more on yourself.  Every day eating does not have to be “gourmet”.  Your choices can be dictated by your available time.  Save the eating out for the really good places, and make it special.

I buy so little from the grocery store, mostly coffee and wine, but certainly other staples and foods as desired.  I was in the store last week getting pasta for a wild mushroom dinner I had planned.  I had some whole wheat pasta, some fresh vegetables, some staple food items, wine, a few canned items (tomatoes), but not any “junk” food.  I was behind two women with a huge cart of food.  I wasn’t stalking them, but I don’t look at the magazines in the line, so I saw their cart contents.  It was chock-a-block full of “junk”-donuts-chocolate and plain in a box, cookies, lots of soda, chips, white bread….the only “real” food was 2 mega sized packs of ground beef and one gallon of milk.  Their total was $117.00.  They paid with their food stamp card.  They were young and fairly overweight (ok, obese).  The contents of their cart told me they do not likely cook much.  I found it sad and a little irritating that the food stamp dollars can be spent this way.

Today I found this Newsweek article along these same thoughts:
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/22/what-food-says-about-class-in-america.html

It is my hope we can all begin making the more local and more natural choices.  For me, as a food provider, it is much bigger than that.  I also provide income for 4 employees.  And studies show for every dollar they earn, .68 stays in our local community.   My guess here is that number is even higher, as they too are locally focused on their choices.  I know the women who work here are highly skilled and accomplished women who truly love what they do.  I also know they depend on this income source.  I also know I cannot do it without them.  We have created a beautifully supportive and nurturing source for your local goat cheese needs.

Goat Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes in Season

Goats (& Cheese) Debut on KOMO4 News

On November 17, 2010 we were on the 4 o’clock news IN Seattle.  We had an assortment of our cheeses which were showcased for Eat Local for Thanksgiving.  We also brought a live goat with us, by request I might add.  It was a lot of fun bringing the goat to the city, walking him into regular elevators, through the fancy lobby of Fisher Plaza, and up to the news station.

Tom Watson and all the KOMO staff were so kind, professional, and fun to work with.  I was a bit nervous as everything happened so fast.  Debbie, esteemed goat handler, went with me.  Could not have done it without her.

Here is the link to the news clip. You may to allow Active X for it to work.
http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/ecoconsumer/KOMO4-videos.asp?mfile=EcoTG.wmv&loc=server#video

Rhonda on KOMO patio

Debbie in KOMO patio (4th floor up)

Debbie and Goat by Space Needle

Saturday Cheese at the Farm

Beginning Saturday October 23, 2010 at:

15203 Sunset Road
Bow WA 98232

Accessed by either Farm to Market Road or Chuckanut Drive.

We will trial being open from 10am-2pm on Saturdays for you to stop in for cheese selections.  Nothing fancy here. No formal tours. We have had so many requests for cheese now that markets are ending, we decided to try this and see if you like it. 

Would love your feedback as we give this a try.  Hope to see many of you on Saturday now.

Growing Marshmallows!

1st Haylage

Well, maybe not really, but this is what our Grandson thought last year when saw these in a field.  We are VERY excited to have gotten to this point this year.  It has been an odd year for grass here, cold, wet, unpredictable.  Remember when we first planted this (late) on July 2nd, as it had rained almost every day up to that point?  Then when it did not rain for over a month?  Then we had weed pressure which we controlled with mowing?  This says a LOT for the skill of the farmers we work with and also for the general health/growing suitability of our land.  Anyway, now this 18 acres is not looking too shabby!

One of the Marshmallow Stacks

 The goats are infinitely curious and entertained by anything happening in “their” yard.  We won’t feed any of this to our goats, it is all going for cow food.  We don’t feed silage feeds.  Mostly just thrilled it will go to a good use to feed livestock!  Rough count is about 50 of these large bales.  Now if all goes well, next year this will help feed our goats.

Hey Gals-Come Look!

They all had to come out and look at what I was doing walking on the side of the road with camera in hand!

Love, Love, Love….their curiosity.  They followed up by coming out to the fence to greet me.