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At the top of a mountain, in Townshend, Vermont, with approximately 40 goats and two dogs, live Lucas Farrell and Louisa Conrad: artists and goat farmers.
It all began several years ago when the couple was teaching art and writing in Vermont. At the time, they had some chickens and a garden. One of Louisa’s art students lived on a goat farm. They were intrigued. Eventually, they took an apprenticeship and subsequently began their own goat farm.
“Most of the farmers we know are also artists,” explained Conrad. “Farming is a combination of art and science. It blends together really well.”
Today, they operate with two apprentices and two other employees who handle packaging, shipping and production. They produce goat cheese and goat milk caramels.
“We wanted to do something different than just cheese,” said Conrad. “We started boiling down the milk and created wonderful caramels. Everyone who’s tried them is a convert.”
Conrad says living on a farm that is her small family business is at times crazy, but the Manhattan native said she was surprised how much fun it turned out to be living with a herd of goats. “When you’re running a farm, you’re part herder, part plumber, part vet, part machinist, part gynecologist, and part anything else that needs to be done.
“You get to know them and their story,” she continued. “You learn that the milk they honor us with is a product of a specific place, and is made from the milk of a specific animal, eating specific flowers and leaves and plants at a specific time of year.”
Big Picture Farms is expecting about 70 kids to be born in the next few weeks on the farm. They name each one and keep fans up to date on their lives on the farm’s blog.
They believe part of the experience of enjoying a confection made mostly of milk is understanding the origin of the milk, including the farm and plants. This information gives consumers an awareness of the quality and potential of milk.
“I believe anyone is capable of living a lot of different lives,” Conrad reflects. “I’m very happy with this one.”