Ilyssa Berg and Javier Flores raise Animal Welfare Approved goats and chickens on Painted Goat Farm in Garrattsville, NY. Ilyssa holds a degree in ecological anthropology, while Javier is a farmer from Cuellaje, Ecuador- a remote region high in the Andes Mountains. Their herd of roughly 80 goats- Nubians, Alpines, and LaManchas- graze on over 100 acres of rolling hills and brush in upstate New York and produce the milk from which Ilyssa and Javier create high quality, natural fresh and aged cheeses.
Their cheese is produced on site in the cheese house and aging cave which Ilyssa and Javier designed and built themselves. In every batch of fresh goat cheese (sometimes flavored with garlic and chive, rosemary-fig, or pine-nut pesto), Esperanza and Cinderella (both French-style, soft ripened cheeses), one can taste the milk, herbs, and individual care that went into each step of their production process. Ilyssa understands the link between the welfare and care of animals and the end product. “What you feed the animals really influences the taste of the cheese,” she explains. Raising grass-fed, happy goats has led to delicious cheeses that rank high among the favorites of many local customers and retailers.
On sustainable farming, Ilyssa and Javier say, “It doesn’t just improve the health of the farm and animals, but makes great cheese.” The goats are taken on long walks through the woods or rotated through paddocks in grass pastures, which enables them to exercise their natural behavior. “Goats are not like cows,” Javier explains. “They like to walk while they eat and zigzag through a field.” To learn more about Painted Goat Farm and where its products are available, visit www.paintedgoat.com.