Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Who are they?
Owners and full time workers on the farm are Ann-Marie Monda and Carla Meurs who have an Ag Science Degree and teaching Degree respectively. They spent one year overseas and a further two years in Australia working on farms to hone their skills & knowledge as farmers and cheesemakers.
Why they do what they do?
Their driving force is reflected in their philosophy of life. Farming and living with a goat herd, nurturing the environment, learning new ways to look after their herd, creating new cheeses, and growing their team.
The philosophy at Holy Goat can be broken down into 3 categories:
Protection of the natural world – the soil, the trees, habitat for birds, insects, native animals, and careful management of the goat, the size of the herd to ensure the improvement of land rather than degrade it.
Each year 700 hundred trees are planted as they bring health to the landscape that provides habitats for birds and insects. Trees also cycle moisture through their leaves and create cool air even on hot days.
"I learnt this from a goat, who kidded high up in a paddock on a 40-degree day. When I got up the hill I was amazed – she was under a big eucalypts with a cool breeze flowing around her. The best spot on the farm," said Carla.
The Goat herd
Their goats are 2 years old when they first kid and continue to milk continuously until they are 8 to 12 years old. When the goats are 2 years and 4 years old, strongest, healthiest and best milkers are selected to kid again. Through this method they avoid over production of kids, and the goats have a long life with them on the farm.
Being certified organic, their soils, pastures and animal treatments satisfies the organic standards. This has been an ongoing evolution with the use of things like activated Charcoal, turmeric, cinnamon, slippery elm and an amazing goat health diagnostic tool developed by a French vet. They are always ready to learn and share.
Cheese making is physical, dynamic and yet it is also a meditation requiring focus, awareness, and sensitivity to each make – texture, appearance, smell, variations. Their team of 12 work in the dairy, in the paddocks, and they make cheese who they encourage to become skilled goat farmers and cheesemakers.
Each of their cheeses has a unique pedigree, just like our goats. They come from 3 families of the Fresh Curd, Rind Ripened and Washed Rind.
If you are keen to try some of their cheese, come over to the shop or order online for a piece of the Nectar, La Luna and/or Brigid's Well.
We are very proud to have and support such great cheesemakers at Ripe.