New Delivery Location

Recently we expanded our herdshare to include more of the Rogue Valley by establishing a delivery location for our herdshare members in Talent, Oregon. Our good friends at Pradaria Farm at 6764 Tarry Lane in Talent have agreed to share their farmstand location. We began delivering to this spot several weeks ago and have already begun adding more herdshare members at that end of the valley!

Delivery day is every Wednesday. If you are interested in joining the herdshare, or are just curious about what raw goat milk tastes like, we currently have samples available in the farmstand fridge as well as information regarding the herdshare. You can also get more information about the herdshare here at our website or by emailing or calling us.

While you are there, be sure to pick up some of the best eggs around from Pradaria, or talk to Jake about reserving a pasture-raised turkey for your Thanksgiving Dinner this year!

Arrival of kidding season!

Our first goat babies of the year arrived early Sunday morning!  We walked out to do chores and there were two tiny doelings getting licked clean by Bluegrass, their mom. Everything went great! The kids were up and going without any assistance from us, within hours they were bouncing around like they had tiny springs in their legs!

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Mom and kids enjoying a sunny afternoon

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Curious little girl

Welcome Provi and Dawson!

We are happy to announce the addition of two new goats to the farm! Provi is a 2* milker and contributing greatly to each day’s milking for the herdshare. Dawson, our new breeding buck, is sweet and gentle and loves to be pet. Welcome to the Siskiyou Fields Farm family!

Provi, our new milking doe
Provi, our new milking doe
Provi is a happy goat
Provi is a happy goat
Dawson the buck
Dawson the buck
Dawson helps out with some blackberry removal
Dawson helps out with some blackberry removal

Raw Milk Testing

We recently sent our first round of samples to Udder Health Systems in Bellingham, Washington, and had them analyzed for standard plate count (SPC) and total coliforms. Udder Health Systems is a lab that provides milk quality and food testing services for the dairy industry and is one of the few labs in the Pacific Northwest that provides the services we were looking for.

There are many misconceptions about the safety of raw milk and milk testing is quickly becoming the standard among professionals in the industry looking to document and promote the safety of properly collected raw milk. While not mandatory for our herdshare, we feel that testing is important to confirm both for ourselves and our herdshare members that our operating procedures are effective.

Analyzing samples for SPC and total coliforms from the milk is the most commonly accepted method of basic raw milk testing. Standard Plate Count, also known as bacterial plate count, is an indication of the level of microorganisms present in the milk. SPC is an important test to run because the contributing organisms can either come from the udder, from contamination during milking, or anywhere along the milk path. A low count is an indication of good general sanitation, udder health, and proper chilling of the milk.

Total coliform testing, however, focuses on one type of bacteria, coliforms, of which E. coli is a member of. In addition to serving as an indicator of milk quality and food safety, this laboratory test also conveys information about the cleanliness of the milk harvesting process. A healthy goat with a healthy udder should not have coliforms present in the milk. Coliforms are normal bacteria of the mammalian gastro-intestinal tract, and have the potential to enter the milk path through fecal contamination during the milking process, either by accidental intake of fecal material while milking or inadequate cleaning of the udder or teat. Since the microorganisms we are testing for tend to form colonies as they multiply, both SPC and Total Coliforms are measured in colony forming units (CFU/ml).

While the state of Oregon does not currently have standards for raw milk, Washington and California do. In Washington the legal limits are <20,000 CFU/ml for SPC and <10 CFU/ml for coliforms, while in California the legal limits are <15,000 CFU/ml for SPC and <10 CFU/ml for coliforms.

So how did we do? Our result for Standard Plate Count was 300 CFU/ml, while our result for Total Coliforms was Non Detectable in the sample. We are very pleased with these results as they show what we’ve known all along- that we are producing healthy raw milk with very little, if any, contamination at any point in the milking process. We feel this highlights the rigor of our sanitizing, milking and chilling procedures and the benefits of pasturing our goats 100% of the time and moving them to a new paddock daily.

Now that we know the quality of our milk, how do we stack up against other raw milk producers? Champoeg Dairy, based in St. Paul, Oregon, is listed through the the Raw Milk Institute, and is vocal in their support for safe raw milk production. Their results for April of 2015 was 16 CFU/ml for SPC and Non Detectable in the sample for Total Coliforms. Their highest listed result for SPC was 220 CFU/ml and 2 CFU/ml for Total Coliforms. Kid Creek Pastures, based in Mount Shasta, California, is also listed through the Raw Milk Institute. Their results for February of 2015 was 40 CFU/ml for SPC and <1 CFU/ml for Total Coliforms. Their highest listed result for SPC was 450 CFU/ml and 4 CFU/ml for Total Coliforms. These results show that we compare favorably with fellow raw milk producers.

Having one set of favorable results is just the beginning. We have committed to testing our milk once per month and will be posting these results monthly on this site. These results will be listed under our Raw Milk Safety and Test Results tab.

We still have a few spots available in our herdshare. To learn more about our herdshare and how to join, visit our Dairy Goat Herdshare tab.

Milk and Cookies Anyone?

We’ll be at Middle Rogue Farm this Sunday from noon to 4 handing out free samples of our raw goat milk. And what goes better with fresh, delicious milk than homemade cookies! We will be in the farmstand at Middle Rogue Farm with information regarding our farm and herdshare. We will also have the paperwork on hand if you are interested in signing up. We begin deliveries next week!

Middle Rogue Farm has graciously agreed to let us use the refrigerator in their farmstand as a drop point for herdshare deliveries. If you are already a CSA member with Middle Rogue we are making it convenient by scheduling one of our pickup days for Sunday.  Our other pickup day will be Wednesdays.  All milk will be delivered by noon on these days.

We are excited to collaborate with another farm in the Grants Pass area! For more information about Middle Rogue Farm and their CSA program, check out their website at: http://www.middleroguefarm.com/

The Sheep Have Arrived!

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Recently we added six sheep to our farm! These animals are Katahdins, which are a hair sheep that shed their hair every spring and don’t need shearing, and will be the base from which we hope to build our herd. The sheep will be our solar harvesters and carbon sequestration specialists. By using holistic grazing techniques we should also be able to reduce unwanted plant species from our pasture and encourage quality forage for our animals.

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The Husseys grazed sheep on this land from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century and were known as quality producers for many years. We are proud and excited to continue the tradition of the original owners of the property that we are leasing.

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Dairy Goat Herdshare

Now that the babies are arriving, Siskiyou Fields Farm is offering shares in our dairy goat herdshare. Herdshare members pay a one-time buy-in fee, after which they own a percentage of the herd, and a monthly fee that pays for daily milking, care of the herd and monthly milk safety testing to ensure that members are receiving high quality milk that is free of bacteria and pathogens. In return, members receive weekly deliveries of raw goat milk, opportunities to visit and interact with the herd and the knowledge that their goats are helping to remove invasive plants species and restore the local ecosystem.

The price per share is $25, with a monthly boarding fee of $30. Shareholders may buy as many shares as they like, each share being a one-time purchase. Half shares are available at a buy-in price of $12.50, with a monthly boarding fee of $15.

Each share will entitle the shareholder to approximately one-half gallon of milk per week. Please keep in mind that goats are seasonal producers and naturally experience increases and decreases in the amount of milk they produce throughout the year. Boarding fees are due monthly, regardless of the quantity of milk in your share.

Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing a share in our herd. You may download our herdshare agreement here: Siskiyou Fields Farm Caprine Sale and Agistment Agreement. We invite all potential herdshare members to visit, meet the goats, and observe our feeding, milk handling and care practices. This also provides time to ask questions and complete the necessary paperwork. You can also help with chores and milking if you desire!

Goat Babies!

We had our first kids this week! Well, actually Sixx, one of our Saanen/Nubian crosses had kids this week! She gave birth to two big, healthy boys on a warm, sunny afternoon. Born out on the pasture in the fresh spring grass, the kids were up and going within minutes of being born

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Avoiding Mud

Micro water catchment created by goat hooves
Micro water catchment created by goat hooves

With all the rain last week, most people with animals have one dirty word on their minds: MUD. When the ground gets wet and soft, animal hooves can quickly turn firm ground into muck. At Siskiyou Fields Farm however, you won’t find our animals knee deep in their paddocks and you won’t find us constantly putting down straw on every possible spot of ground. We are able to accomplish this by keeping our animals mobile. At this time of year, we move our dairy goats to a new paddock every morning. Besides allowing our ladies to access fresh browse every day, it also reduces their impact on any one area. The amount of trampling(and mud) is kept to a minimum, even after more than 8 inches of rain, and all those individual hoof prints act like micro ponds that hold the water on the land just a bit longer.

Even shelter entrances have minimal impact
Even shelter entrances have minimal impact
The area the goats were on last week during the deluge
The area the goats were on last week during the deluge

Goats for the new year!

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We had an exciting start to the new year with the addition of 4 dairy goats purchased from Peaceful Mountain Dairy in Applegate, Oregon. We are pleased to have Kristie, Grace, Sixx, and Ying-yang join our farm family! We look forward to enjoying their delicious milk. They are already doing a great job of removing invasive Himalayan blackberries from the farm!